Nick Ross on inspiring science writing

"It's not the facts that are most important – it is the way they are put together...Science is a way of being smartly sceptical. It's a process, rather than a collection of facts."

Nick Ross as quoted in the Daily Telegraph

This interesting article by Robert Matthews used the shortlist for the 2006 Aventis Prize for science writing as a departure to discuss the flagging interest in science amongst children. Nick Ross, broadcaster and chairman of the Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science at University College London and the chairman of the judging panel, thought that uninspiring science educators could learn a lot from the best popular science books, in which facts are not as important as delivery.

Ross also said: "Some of the books we non-specialists have liked the most the specialists have liked least. We'd say 'wonderful book' and the experts would say, 'Yes, but it's not right!'." The article implies that a balance between truth and entertainment is ideal.

You can read the rest of the story here – although its prediction that Jared Diamond would win the Prize was in fact wrong. That honor went instead to David Bodanis for his book Electric Universe.