The annual awards, worth Pounds 10,000 each and now in their seventh year, aim to encourage popular science writing. This year there were almost 150 entries, more than ever before.
John Emsley's book, subtitled A jargon-free guide to the chemicals of everyday life was the adult prize winner. It aims to give clear answers to common questions about subjects such as diet, the causes of cancer, global warming and pollution (W H FreemanSpektrum Pounds 18.99).
Jay Young's book won the children's prize. Using seven pop up working models - including a compass, a microscope and a record player - it demonstrates the principles behind inventions taken for granted (Watts Pounds 14.99).