James GleickThe Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood

The PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Prize celebrates writing that exemplifies literary excellence on the subject of physical and biological sciences. The winner receives a cash award of $10,000 and will be honored at the PEN Literary Awards.

The PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award was founded by scientist and author Dr. Edward O. Wilson, activist and actor Harrison Ford, and the E. O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation. The inaugural award was conferred in 2011.

2012 Judges

Elizabeth Kolbert, Charles Mann, and Dava Sobel

From the Judges’ Citation

“The Information by James Gleick takes control of a grand history, a complex theory, and the rising flood of data inundating the world. The book begins with the naming of a new marvel, the transistor, and the introduction of a new unit of measure, the bit. From there, chapters travel through time, charting the whole range of inventions and insights that contributed to the packing and unpacking of information. In vivid, epigrammatic prose, this remarkably ambitious book weaves together topics as varied as African drum language, cuneiform tablets, almanacs and dictionaries, codes and algorithms, telegraphy and telephony, brains and branes, DNA, and quantum mechanics. Written with rigor and élan, The Information is a masterful explication of the world we live in now.”

Previous Winners

Siddhartha Mukherjee and James Gleick