We're thrilled by the news that Eugenia Cheng's exploration of the weird and wonderful world of infinity has been picked for the Royal Society Science Books Prize shortlist. This news came on the same day that we announced Eugenia's new book, coming next year: Thinking Better: The Art of Logic in an Illogical World.

This year’s six-strong 30th anniversary shortlisted books provide a fascinating insight into some of the biggest questions facing us today. The shortlisted authors include two practising scientists (Eugenia Cheng and Joseph Jebelli), a psychologist and a philosophy professor (Cordelia Fine and Peter Godfrey-Smith) and two writers with journalism backgrounds (Mark O’Connell and Ed Yong) (full shortlist below). 

Royal Society prize shortlist

The judges said of Beyond Infinity:  'Most people think they know what infinity means, but that is only because they have not thought about it hard enough. Eugenia Cheng takes us step-by-step with inexorable logic to stare infinity in the face, making mathematics seem part-game and part-detective story. Her writing is always clear, and does not shy away from some of the more challenging mental acrobatics that the general reader must be trained to perform. Mathematics is always the greatest challenge for a science writer, and Cheng works hard to make the most difficult concepts accessible to mere mortals.'

Eugenia Cheng is Scientist in Residence at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Honorary Fellow of the University of Sheffield and Honorary Visiting Fellow of City University, London. She is the author of the international bestseller How to Bake Pi: Easy Recipes for Understanding Complex Maths and is currently on the 2017 Royal Society Science Book Prize shortlist with Beyond Infinity: An Expedition to the Outer Limits of the Mathematical Universe.

In Thinking Better: The Art of Logic in an Illogical World, coming summer 2018, Eugenia Cheng harnesses the power of mathematical logic to help us cut through the chaos of the modern world. Editor Nick Sheerin says: 'The world is complicated, but Eugenia's new book makes it easier. Thinking Better helps us spot the logical flaws in what people are telling us, and is full of unexpected ideas for improving the way we think. Eugenia is a brilliant communicator and a globe-trotting, maths-popularising sensation, and it's exciting to see her bringing the timeless methods of mathematical logic to a timely survival guide for our post-truth world.'

Eugenia Cheng says: 'I'm excited to be continuing my wonderful relationship with Profile. It's rewarding to work with a publisher who demonstrably cares about me and my work at a personal level, and who helps me keep developing as an author. The way they support and look after me is everything an author could wish for.'

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The full 2017 shortlist is (in order of author surname): 

  • Beyond Infinity: An Expedition to the Outer Limits of the Mathematical Universe by Eugenia Cheng (Profile Books)
  • Testosterone Rex: Unmaking the Myths of Our Gendered Minds by Cordelia Fine (Icon Books)
  • Other Minds: The Octopus and the Evolution of Intelligent Life by Peter Godfrey-Smith (William Collins)
  • In Pursuit of Memory: The Fight Against Alzheimer's by Joseph Jebelli (John Murray)
  • To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death by Mark O'Connell (Granta Books)
  • I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong (Bodley Head)