Alien Oceans: The Search for Life in the Depths of Space by Kevin Peter Hand and Złoty pociąg i inne największe zagadki historii sztuki w Polsce [The golden train and other great mysteries of art history in Poland] by Łucja Malec-Kornajew were chosen as the winners of the Smart Book of the Year 2022 awards. As in previous years, there were 10 books for adults and 5 books for children nominated for the award. The winners were announced on 25 May during this year’s edition of Copernicus Festival.
The Smart Book of the Year award aims to motivate both publishers and authors to strive for the highest standards of popular science books. The Euclid Statuette, given each year to the best science communication publications, serves as a mark of quality for readers, as well as a positive feedback for authors and publishers.
The main prize was awarded to a book by Kevin Peter Hand entitled Alien Oceans: The Search for Life in the Depths of Space. Although humanity has not yet been able to reveal all the secrets of oceans on Earth, the American astrobiologist and planetary scientist invites the reader to set off on a journey to other world. Alien Oceans is a tale of perseverance and ingenuity of researchers who gradually discover more and more about the bodies of water on the planets and moons of the Solar System. Today, old theories about alien life on the surface of Mars and Venus may be a part of the history of science fiction, but now our imagination takes us further, towards the moons orbiting the gas giants, whose subsurface oceans are seen as primary candidates for the habitats of extra-terrestrial organisms.
Łucja Malec-Kornajew’s book Złoty pociąg i inne największe zagadki historii sztuki w Polsce [The golden train and other great mysteries of art history in Poland] was declared a winner in two categories, as it was declared both the best popular science book for children and the public choice award of Gazeta Wyborcza daily. Finally, the academic community of the Jagiellonian University voted to award its prize to Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods for their book Survival of the Friendliest: Understanding Our Origins and Rediscovering Our Common Humanity.
The Smart Book of the Year contest was organised by the Jagiellonian University and the Smart Books website in partnership with Copernicus Festival, De Revolutionibus Books & Café, and Gazeta Wyborcza daily. The winners of two main prizes were selected by the award chapter consisting of JU Rector’s Proxy Prof. Stanisław Kistryn, journalist Aleksandra Stanisławska, editor-in-chief of the Smart Books website Leszek Szumlas, editor-in-chief of Gazeta Wyborcza in Kraków Michał Olszewski, Carbon Footprint Foundation coordinator Marta Seweryn as well as science communicators Dr Monika Koperska, Marta Trzeciak and Dr Kamil Kopij.