The shortlist for the 2013 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books, which celebrates the best in popular science writing, has been announced:
Bird Sense: What it's like to be a bird by Tim Birkhead, published by Bloomsbury
The judges said: "Bird Sense opens new worlds to the imagination through a wealth of passionately observed science. It succeeds in conveying a feeling of what it is like to be a bird."
The Particle at the End of the Universe:The hunt for the Higgs and the discovery of a new world by Sean Carroll, published by OneWorld Publications
The judges said: "This book invites you to imagine the unimaginable. It tells an extraordinary tale of scientific discovery and stands out by its ability to speak to people who are not scientists."
Cells to Civilizations: The principles of change that shape life by Enrico Coen, published by Princeton University Pres
The judges said: "Cells to Civilizations presents an exciting challenge to our thinking on how evolution works. It is unbelievably alive and we could feel our brains growing as we read."
Pieces of Light: The new science of memory by Charles Fernyhough, published by Profile Books
The judges said: "Our memories of reading this book are exceptionally good ones! It challenges much of what we think we know about memory. It's a bit like reading a novel, personal and compulsive!"
The Book of Barely Imagined Beings: A 21st century bestiary by Caspar Henderson, published by Granta
The judges said: "Henderson taps into forgotten wonder we first felt as children discovering the creatures of our world. It borrows its format from ancient bestiaries and its title from Borges' extraordinary tales. The book itself is a beautiful object and brings barely imagined beings to life."
Ocean of Life: How our seas are changing by Callum Roberts, published by Allen Lane (Penguin Books)
The judges said: "Roberts sets modern conservation in context. For instance he has taken fisheries science and channelled it into the mainstream debate. This book is thrilling: a delightful mix of anecdote, research and polemic."
You can read the first chapter of each of the titles on the Royal Society's website.
The winner, announced on 25 November 2013, will be awarded £25,000 while the authors of each of the shortlisted books will receive £2,500.
Download the Royal Society Winton Prize shortlist poster.
Read Professor Uta Frith's blog about what it's like to judge the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books.