I won the 3 Quarks Daily Science Prize. 'Top quark'. Heh.

By Ed Yong | June 21, 2010 5:59 am

topquarkI woke up this morning to various emails and tweets saying that I’ve just won the 3 Quarks Daily Science Prize for 2010. Monday mornings don’t usually start this promisingly!

For those who haven’t been following, this is the second of what will hopefully be a long-running competition, focusing on science writing on blogs. The winning entry was this post on the gut bacteria of Japanese people, which have borrowed sushi-digesting genes from their oceanic relatives.

It goes without saying that I’ve very grateful to all the readers who nominated posts and voted for them and to the editors of 3 Quarks Daily for organising the competition.

I’m feel very proud of this, especially because this year’s finalists included some of the finest science writers in the market and because it was judged by none other than Richard Dawkins. The latter is important, for The Selfish Gene was hugely influential to me, showing not only how incredible evolution is but how inspirational a piece of good science writing can be. Without it, I would probably be doing something else.

I also wanted to say something about writing competitions, from the perspective of someone who’s currently judging the ABSW ones, and has judged OpenLab entries in the past. These competitions, by their nature, are incredibly and necessarily subjective. There’s no SI unit for writing quality and no standard template for what the ideal, Platonic piece would look like. It’s relatively easy to sort pieces into rough categories of merit but when it comes to discerning between the top entrants at a finer level, personal opinion factors heavily into it. Which is a really roundabout way of saying that getting into the top stratum is a massive honour and I wholeheartedly congratulate all the semi-finalists and finalists for their tremendous work.

And finally, it’s worth mentioning again (given recent accusations that bloggers have the luxury of time – ha!) that most of us write our blogs in our spare moments, often getting nothing in return save a sense of satisfaction and the odd comment or so. These efforts are worth recognising and I thank the editors of 3 Quarks Daily for doing so.


Comments (20)

  1. NewEnglandBob

    Congratulation on the award and on the well written article.

  2. Congratulations! And, I agree. Just to have been among the top 10 or 20 is pretty awesome all by itself. And to have Richard Dawkins read something you wrote? Already a giant win.

  3. CONGRATS! Well-deserved! — what you say about the ‘subjective’ element at the top tier level is absolutely right, but still someone has to get picked as ‘winner’ and you’ve earned it.

  4. Yeah but being British, I am culturally hardwired to downplay my own achievements. Stupid frickin’ country… 😉

  5. Congratulations, Ed!

    I am thrilled to join you among the winners. And I am charmed that my quark is charm. :)

  6. Congrats Ed! Well deserved.

  7. EMJ

    Congratulations Ed! I’m not surprised in the least. Your posts are consistently well written and fascinating. And it couldn’t happen to a nicer bloke!

  8. Congrats Ed – you really did deserve it. You are a fantastic writer!

  9. Congrats! I must say the Japanese gut bacteria article was one of the most fascinating articles I’ve read, well done!

  10. Diveena

    congratulations! the best will get only the very best

  11. Congratulations! Well-deserved, too. And as for the British nature to downplay achievements, I’d say you’re still good to celebrate, considering Dawkins didn’t judge you to have come in a scoreless tie with a blogger from Algeria 😉

  12. YAY ED! Very well deserved.

  13. DrugMonkey

    congrats and well deserved. that was a great post and a fine example of the craft.

  14. brooks

    nice job! you definitely earned it.

  15. Congratulations Ed! Keep ’em coming

  16. Congratulations!!! I remember that post. Well deserved indeed.

  17. Nathan Myers

    Well deserved, indeed. While I cast my vote for Jennifer Frazer’s differently excellent “The Artful Amoeba”, I cannot find in myself any dissatisfaction with the way things turned out.

    Here’s thanks to Ed’s wife for making our daily astonishment possible.

  18. Eleanor

    Excellent, well done! And well deserved, too.

  19. Richard

    Congratulations. Nice one.

  20. Vaishnavi Raghunathanhan

    Congratulations! I’m not surprised you won.


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