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A history of science book has been highly commended for the 2016 DeLong Book History Prize, awarded by the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP).

The book, Haeckel’s Embryos: Images, Evolution, and Fraud, tells the extraordinary story of an alleged forgery that became a textbook classic. Along the way, it explores how scientific images succeed and fail, become taken for granted and cause trouble. Authored by Nick Hopwood of the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, it is published by the University of Chicago Press.
Announcing the commendation at the SHARP AGM in Paris on 21 July, Kirsti Salmi-Niklander, chair of the judges, said:
"The book – a beautiful object, as well as a thought-provoking read – tells the story of how the Darwinist Ernst Haeckel’s famous drawings of embryos shaped the course of modern science, despite contemporary and current accusations of fraud. Hopwood’s research is wide-ranging, leading us confidently through the politics and practices of embryology as well as of book design, and raising pressing questions about the use and spread of images in print and manuscript. Rooted in the history of science, Haeckel’s Embryos demonstrates the gains to be made by disciplines beyond our own when they turn to the tools of book history to ask big questions about the reproduction and dissemination of ideas."
Hopwood responded: "I am very honoured by this commendation and most grateful to SHARP and especially the judges. I always hoped that Haeckel’s Embryos would engage book historians, so I am particularly pleased that SHARP has recognised it in this way."
The other highly commended title was Kate Loveman’s Samuel Pepys and His Books. The winner was Bound to Be Modern by Kristina Lundblad. Nearly 60 books were entered for the prize, all copyrighted 2015.

Date awarded

21 July 2016

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