Explaining Humans: What Science Can Teach Us about Life, Love and Relationships by postdoctoral scientist and debut author Dr. Camilla Pang is the 2020 winner of the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize. The result was revealed in a virtual ceremony on November 3.
Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of eight, Dr Camilla Pang struggled to understand the world around her. Desperate for a solution, Camilla asked her mother if there was an instruction manual for humans that she could consult. But, without the blueprint to life she was hoping for, Camilla began to create her own. Now armed with a PhD in biochemistry, Camilla dismantles our obscure social customs and identifies what it really means to be human using her unique expertise and a language she knows best: science.
Through a set of scientific principles, this book examines life’s everyday interactions including: decisions and the route we take to make them; conflict and how we can avoid it; relationships and how we establish them; etiquette and how we conform to it.
Explaining Humans is an original and incisive exploration of human nature and the strangeness of social norms, written from the outside looking in. Camilla’s unique perspective of the world, in turn, tells us so much about ourselves – about who we are and why we do it – and is a fascinating guide on how to lead a more connected, happier life.
Dr. Pang tweeted her reaction to winning: “I have no words. What an absolute honour. Literally in bits. Thank you so much to everyone and congratulations to the amazing authors on the shortlist. You are all incredible. Thank you so so much everyone. I am beyond over the moon and am so grateful for your support. What a way to enter lockdown!” (The UK initiated a period of lockdown to control the spread of COVID today.)
She is the sixth woman to win the prize in six years.
The winner receives a cheque for £25,000, with £2,500 awarded to each of the five other shortlisted authors.