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How to Win a Nobel Prize


“This book is a fun and fast-paced look at science and scientists… highly recommended for budding scientists of upper-primary age.”

This gig was just too much fun. I was approached by Nobel Prize winner (!) Professor Barry Marshall, to work with him on a book explaining to kids how they could win a Nobel Prize. Barry and his team had come up with a great brief, we agreed on 12 Nobel Prize winners to feature, came up with a narrative device that allowed us to ‘meet’ them all (yes, it’s a time machine) and the writing began. The proper scientists came up with experiments to go with each chapter, which demonstrate the work each scientist did.

There were two great things about writing this book. First, I learned HEAPS. If you don’t know who Rita Levi-Montalcini is, google her right now. She is awesome. If you didn’t know that Guglielmo Marconi lit up the Sydney Town Hall from his yacht in Genoa Harbour in 1930, that’s a story worth reading. And if you have ever heard about some crazy guy in Western Australia who drank bacteria to prove it causes stomach ulcers, then prepare yourself to meet Barry Marshall. Second, I got to work with an old friend and crazy science guy, illustrator Bernard Caleo, and the wonderful team at Black Inc. So far, they have sold the book into the USA, UK, China, Japan, Poland, Turkey and Hungary.

Barry’s proceeds from the book will go towards the work he and his team are doing at the Marshall Centre.

How to Win a Nobel Prize was shortlisted for the 2019 Western Australia Premier’s Prize for Writing for Children.

• • •

Mary was bored. Her mother had let her come to this meeting to meet a famous scientist, but he wasn’t even here yet. Everyone was just sitting around a big table, drinking tea and eating biscuits and fiddling with their phones.

“I’m so sorry,” said a blonde woman called Josephine, who seemed to be in charge. “Professor Marshall does sometimes lose track of time.”

Mary nudged her mother. “Is that the man who won the Nobel Prize?”

Mary’s mother nodded and frowned at the same time, which Mary knew meant that she was supposed to be quiet.

Ever since Mary was very young, she had wanted to win a Nobel Prize herself. She loved doing science experiments at home. Once she had built a boat for her bath that was powered by a balloon. Another time she had made a cloud appear in a glass jar. When Mary overheard her mother say that she would be visiting an important research centre and meeting a scientist who had won a Nobel Prize, she had nagged for days to be allowed to come. But now nothing was happening, and the scientist wasn’t even here.

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