Stan Bentvelsen, Maartijn van Calmthout and Margrethe van der Heijden win the Dutch Cosmos Book Prize 2023

Last Friday, at least two books and three authors won the award Universe Book Award. The award for best popular science book went to The island is called Higgs Written by Stan Bentvelsen and Martjen van Kalmthout unknown Written by Margaret van der Heijden.

Following last year’s success, the Cosmos Book Prize has been awarded for the second time to the best popular science books of the year. The winners were announced last Friday with a full and exciting program at the CREA Student Cultural Center in Amsterdam.

From 7pm, students, parents, teachers, writers, professional judges and fans of the band flocked in. the hit inside. While enjoying a snack and a drink, viewers can speculate on this question: Who will win the 2023 Cosmos Book Prize?

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What distinguishes this award is that a professional jury made up of scientists not only selects the winner. Equally important was the 30-member judging panel of students from MAVO, HAVO and VWO. The always cheerful Jim Janssen, magazine editor new worldThey spent the evening talking to each other. After an evening filled with live music, science, videos and a live cartoonist, the winners were announced.


Before announcing the winners, the nominated authors tell something about their book. The first was physics Stan Bentvelsenco-discoverer of the Higgs boson and co-author The island is called Higgs Role. “Discovering the Higgs boson was an amazing moment. We really felt like explorers. I wanted to tell you about the amazing adventure we had.

Margaret van der Heijden She talked about her book unknown, which is about overlooked female scientists. “When I was in college, I was the only girl,” she said. “During my training, people often asked me about things like a coffee maker, because I didn’t look like a physicist. That’s partly why I decided to write this book.

Govert Schilling, James Bousquet And Giorgio Parisi Unfortunately, they couldn’t be physically present and talk about their books in the videos, respectively Target land, horizons And The miracle of complex systems. The sixth nominated book was Marie Curie and her daughters by Claudine Montiel.

Make reading fun

This was the second time that the Cosmos Book Prize had been awarded in the Netherlands. The award was established five years ago in Italy On the initiative of Gianfranco Bertone, an astroparticle physicist at the University of Amsterdam. He was also present and preceded the nominated writers on stage. “Last year I said I hoped this would be the start of a new tradition. Next year I hope it will be even bigger. With this award I would like to put the authors of popular science books in the spotlight and motivate students to read more.”

However, student motivation appears to be successful. “I read all the books together because I was curious about all the books,” said the student jury president.

Disagreement in the jury

After the nominated writers presented their book, it was accompanied by music from the hitIt’s finally time to announce. The president of the youth jury took his place on the stage. She said enthusiastically that all the books left the impression that they were a common topic of conversation while cycling with her fellow judges. But in the end, the students unanimously chose the winner: The island is called Higgs. Stan Bentvelsen came on stage to huge applause. ‘How wonderful to hear that the story is engaging. I was really impressed.

Then made Ivo van Volpen, chair of the professional jury and science communicator, announced their preferred candidate. ‘And the winner is… -drum roll -… unknown!’ Margaret van der Heijden was also very happy to receive the award. ‘Very pleasant! amazing. I really hope this attracts more attention to women in science. Van Volpen admitted that the decision was very difficult. But in the end we agreed that this had to be the winner. We were hungry for the science behind women.

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Megan Vasquez

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