Science book of the year

13 January 2011 | In the news

A book on Islamic cuisine and food culture by Helena Hallenberg and Irmeli Perho has won the prize for the Finnish science book of the year (Vuoden tiedekirja), worth €10,000. The prize is awarded by the Suomen Tiedekustantajien Seura, Finnish Science Publishers’ Association, and Tieteellisten seurain valtuuskunta, Federation of Finnish Learned Societies.

Ruokakulttuuri islamin maissa (‘Food culture in Islamic countries’, Gaudeamus) explores both cultural and culinary history in the Near East and other Islamic countries since the sixth century, from the Prophet Muhammad to this day – and yes, the book also contains recipes. Both the authors are academics: Hallenberg is a scholar of Islamic saints and Chinese Muslims’ ideas of health, while Perho specialises in Islamic history of ideas and society.

Cimex lectularius: the bedbug. Photo: Wikipedia

And a honorary mention, worth €2,500, was awarded to a large work, with excellent illustrations, on Heteroptera, an extensive family of bugs, one of which is the bedbug – luckily unknown to most of us. The vast majority of people have no idea, either, of the fact that there are 22 endangered species of these bugs in Finland, the home of 507 different representatives of the Heteroptera family. So, Suomen luteet – johdatus luteiden mielenkiintoiseen maailmaan by Teemu Rintala and Veikko Rinne (‘The bugs of Finland  – an introduction to the interesting world of the Heteroptera’, Tibiale) is a lively proof of the amazing biodiversity of Finland.