Best non-fiction books and the conference “Science Communication in the Times of War”

The awards ceremony was broadcast live simultaneously from three venues in Berlin, Moscow, and Tel Aviv

Winners of Enlightener 2023 (Prosvetitel Prize in Russian) have been announced and handed their well-deserved prizes. Chemist Ramiz Aliyev received the Enlightener prize in the nomination Natural and Exact Sciences for his book What Happened to the Climate, published by Paulsen. In the Humanities nomination, the prize went to historian Oleg Khlevnyuk for his Imposter Corporation. Shadow Economy and Corruption in the Stalinist USSR, published by New Literary Observer.

The Enlightener.Translation prize in the Humanities nomination was awarded to Being You: A New Science of Consciousness by British neuroscientist Anil Seth, translated from English by Maria Desyatova (published by Alpina Non-Fiction). In Natural and Exact Sciences, the jury chose The Gene: An Intimate History by American physician and biologist Siddhartha Mukherjee, translated by Olga Volkova and Ksenia Saifulina, published by Corpus press.

The special prize, PolitProsvet, was awarded to historian Vladislav Aksenov for his War of Patriotisms: Propaganda and Public Sentiment in Russia during the Collapse of the Empire (New Literary Observer publishing house). The End of the Regime: How Three European Dictatorships Ended by political scientist Alexander Baunov received an honorable mention.

The awards ceremony was broadcast live simultaneously from three venues in Berlin, Moscow, and Tel Aviv. Each laureate is going to receive €10,000.

Before the ceremony there was two-day conference “Science Communication in the Times of War” organized by Zimin Foundation and Prosvetitel Prize. Science outreach in its traditional meaning is currently going through a crisis, both in Russia and outside of it. Science outreach used to mean talking to the general public about important aspects of modern scientific knowledge using accessible language. Today this definition raises all kinds of questions: who is talking to whom, in what language, using which tools, what kind of financing is acceptable and ethical, and, most importantly, what are they talking about and why? These were the main issues discussed at the conference which was attended by 50 scientists and Russian-speaking scientists, educators, and journalists.

The annual Enlightener Award rewards the best non-fiction books published in the Russian language. It was founded in 2008 by Dmitry Zimin and the Dynasty Foundation. After the Dynasty was labeled “foreign agent” in 2015, the Enlightener has been supported by the Zimin Foundation instead.


November 16, 2023

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