Alchemy of Us
Ainissa Ramirez

Alchemy of Us

How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another

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September 2, 2020 | History

Alchemy of Us

How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another

  • 0 Ratings
  • 10 Want to read
  • 0 Currently reading
  • 0 Have read
Publish Date
Publisher
MIT Press
Language
English
Pages
328

In The Alchemy of Us, scientist and science writer Ainissa Ramirez examines eight inventions—clocks, steel rails, copper communication cables, photographic film, light bulbs, hard disks, scientific labware, and silicon chips—and reveals how they shaped the human experience. Ramirez tells the stories of the woman who sold time, the inventor who inspired Edison, and the hotheaded undertaker whose invention pointed the way to the computer. She describes, among other things, how our pursuit of precision in timepieces changed how we sleep; how the railroad helped commercialize Christmas; how the necessary brevity of the telegram influenced Hemingway's writing style; and how a young chemist exposed the use of Polaroid's cameras to create passbooks to track black citizens in apartheid South Africa. These fascinating and inspiring stories offer new perspectives on our relationships with technologies.

Ramirez shows not only how materials were shaped by inventors but also how those materials shaped culture, chronicling each invention and its consequences—intended and unintended. Filling in the gaps left by other books about technology, Ramirez showcases little-known inventors—particularly people of color and women—who had a significant impact but whose accomplishments have been hidden by mythmaking, bias, and convention. Doing so, she shows us the power of telling inclusive stories about technology. She also shows that innovation is universal—whether it's splicing beats with two turntables and a microphone or splicing genes with two test tubes and CRISPR.

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Edition Availability
Cover of: Alchemy of Us
Cover of: Alchemy of Us
Cover of: The Alchemy of Us
The Alchemy of Us: How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another
April 7th 2020, MIT Press
Hardcover in English
Cover of: Alchemy of Us

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Book Details


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Library of Congress

ID Numbers

Open Library
OL30014633M
ISBN 13
9780262542265

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September 2, 2020 Created by ImportBot Imported from Better World Books record.