University of Amsterdam: The Cosmos Book Prize

Already very successful in Italy, the Cosmos Book Prize initiative has now kicked off in the Netherlands. High school students get to read popular science books for free, and together elect a prize winner. A professional jury elects a second winner. The project, now in its pilot stage, is very successful in getting high school students – including those who may normally not have easy access to such literature – to read popular science books.

The initiative was brought to the Netherlands by Gianfranco Bertone, the initiator of the Italian version of the project, who is a professor in Astroparticle Physics at the University of Amsterdam. Bertone himself is author of several popular science books that have been published in Italian, English and recently also in Dutch.

The Dutch ‘Cosmos Boekenprijs’ is part of the National Science Agenda (NWA) and aims to select the best popular science book in physics, mathematics or astronomy each year. Earlier this year, high school students aged 15-18 could apply to be part of the student jury, leading to a jury of 37 students. Over the course of the next half year, the jury members, as well as a professional jury, read five selected books (that the students get for free) and each select a winner. To further stimulate the students’ interest in reading and in popular science, some of the authors of the five selected books visit the schools as well. At a festive book gala on 28 October, the authors of the two winning books will then each receive a prize of €2000,-.

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