Set up in 1988 as the "Science Book Prizes", the The Royal Society Prizes for Science Books were named the Rhône-Poulenc Prizes for Science Books from 1990 to 2000, and the Aventis Prizes for Science Books from 2001 to 2006. Managed by the Royal Society, the Prizes are awarded every Spring to the best nonfiction science book in two categories: Junior for children aged under 14, and General for a more general audience. The Royal Society appoints two panels of five judges to select shortlists. For the General Prize, the panel also selects the winner. For the Junior Prize, the winner is selected by panels of children 14 years and younger.
Books are nominated by the publisher, obligating the author to participate in certain events. Eligible books must be published in the U.K. in English, and targeted to the appropriate education level: no formal science education beyond age 16 for the General Prize, and younger than 14 years for the Junior Prize.
Each winner receives a cash prize of £10,000, while shortlisted authors receive £1000.
- The Junior Prize had three winners in 1994.
- The Junior Prize was discontinued in 2009.
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