Ceridwen Dovey wins 2020 UNSW Press Bragg Prize for Science Writing

November 26, 2020

The 2020 UNSW Press Bragg Prize for Science Writing, supported by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund, has been awarded to Ceridwen Dovey for her story, ‘True Grit’, about the baffling nature of moondust.

Established by UNSW Press, the Bragg Prize honours the best short non-fiction piece on science written for a general audience. The UNSW Science Dean, Professor Emma Johnston AO, presented Ms Dovey the $7000 award last night at an online event.

Ms Dovey’s story, published in WIRED, explores the unexpected problems of moondust and the Australian physicist who became the world’s foremost authority on it, while asking bold questions about the future of space exploration. She now joins celebrated alumni of the award, including last year’s winner, Melissa Fyfe for ‘Getting cliterate’ (Good Weekend).

Runners-up prizes of $1500 each were awarded to Ricky French for ‘Case of the missing frogs’ (Weekend Australian) and Konrad Marshall for ‘Jeepers creepers’ (Good Weekend).

Copyright Agency CEO Adam Sucking says, “We are proud to support the 2020 Bragg UNSW Press Prize for Science Writing, as there isn’t anything quite like this that recognises science writing and research in mainstream media.”

All the shortlisted entries are included in The Best Australian Science Writing 2020 edited by Sara Phillips (NewSouth Publishing), an annual collection featuring the finest Australian science writing of the year.

The Best Australian Science Writing collection was first published in 2011 and was shortly followed by the establishment of the Bragg Prize in 2012 as an annual prize for science writing, named in honour of Australia’s first Nobel Laureates, father-and-son team William Henry Bragg and William Lawrence Bragg. In 2015, a student prize was introduced, which provides school students with the opportunity to improve their writing skills in a science subject they have an interest in.

UNSW Press CEO Kathy Bail says, “In recent years there has been a push to get more women involved in STEM subjects as it has been a predominately male-dominated industry. The Bragg UNSW Prize for Science Writing is proud that many winners and student prize winners have been female, and have the support of high-profile women who have been successful in the STEM industry.”

The funding from the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund is essential in providing the winners with a significant prize and an opportunity to share their scientific writing. It is key in attracting top writers in the industry to submit and support the UNSW Press Bragg Prize for Science Writing.

“Funding is essential to the success of this prize. It allows us to support the winners through prize money, along with the Bragg student prize that provides resources to schools, such as guides on how to write essays, research the scientific subject, and write in a clear and articulate way,” says Ms Bail.

“We are fortunate to have the support of prominent scientist and Nobel Prize winner for medicine Peter O’Doherty, as well be in a position to employ an editor each year to select the winning stories, which, along with the other shortlisted entries, all feature in an anthology, The Best Australian Science Writing,showcasing the best of the year’s science writing.”

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