Book challenging gender differences wins science award

By Sherna Noah, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

A book on the similarities between men and women has scooped a science book prize.

Testosterone Rex, Unmaking The Myths Of Our Gendered Minds, by British psychologist Cordelia Fine, uses scientific evidence to challenge views on masculinity and femininity.

It triumphed over five other titles on the international shortlist.

Chair of the judges, palaeontologist Professor Richard Fortey, said the book was “a cracking critique of the ‘men are from Mars, women are from Venus’ hypothesis”.

Cordelia Fine (Royal Society Insight)

Fellow judge and broadcaster Claudia Hammond said the book gave “gender bias a face” and “brilliantly explains how every baby, male or female, is born equipped to grow up into any sort of life”.

Fine, 42, also a professor of the history and philosophy of science at the University of Melbourne, received a £25,000 cheque at the London ceremony for the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize.

Her book beat Beyond Infinity: An Expedition To The Outer Limits Of The Mathematical Universe by Eugenia Cheng; Other Minds: The Octopus And The Evolution Of Intelligent Life by Peter Godfrey-Smith; In Pursuit Of Memory: The Fight Against Alzheimer’s by Joseph Jebelli; To Be A Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, And The Futurists Solving The Modest Problem Of Death by Mark O’Connell; and I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us And A Grander View Of Life by Ed Yong.

Founded in 1988, the prize, dubbed “the Booker Prize of science writing”, celebrates science writing for a non-specialist audience.

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