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The Alchemy of Us: How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another (The MIT Press) Hardcover – Illustrated, April 7, 2020

4.7 out of 5 stars 96 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"By explaining how inventions both exotic and mundane transformed society, Ramirez's ingenious survey illuminates the effect of science in a manner accessible to a wide readership." --- Publishers Weekly Endorsements

"Technology and inventions are changing our lives, but we less often appreciate how they are literally changing us―the ways that we talk, see, and think. In this engaging book, Ainissa Ramirez uncovers the stories of these changes and the people who made them happen." --- Sean Carroll, author of Something Deeply Hidden

"We live in a world so dominated by our own inventions that, as Ainissa Ramirez observes, we've reinvented ourselves to accommodate them. The Alchemy of Us is at once timely, informative, and fascinating—a totally compelling work." --- Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Sixth Extinction

"In The Alchemy of Us, Ainissa Ramirez tells the stories of the stuff that surrounds us in our modern world. Her tales are surprising, revealing, and delightfully told." --- Carl Zimmer, author of She Has Her Mother's Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity

"In this timely and beautifully written book, Ainissa Ramirez shows how developments in materials science have shaped lives, nations, and diverse communities. As well as championing an often neglected but vital scientific discipline, it is a wonderful account of how science and technology affect us all and why we must be alert to their implications and consequences." --- Philip Ball, author of Beyond Weird and How to Grow a Human

"This book is full of interesting vignettes of inventions you might think you know about. However, you are unlikely to know the colorful histories of the people behind the stories or all the consequences of the inventions, as spelled out here." --- Professor Dame Athene Donald, Professor of Experimental Physics, University of Cambridge, and Master of Churchill College

"It's easy to find a book that recounts the society-shaping powers of important inventions, but much harder to find one that peels back the unintended consequences of those creations, and reveals the forgotten innovators who were part of their stories. It's fortunate, then, that Ainissa Ramirez has written exactly that book, and done so with such rich and compelling prose. The Alchemy of Us carries important lessons about the cost of progress, the nature of invention, and importance of diversity. It's an important read in a time of upheaval." --- Ed Yong, author of I Contain Multitudes


About the Author

Ainissa Ramirez is a materials scientist and sought-after public speaker and science communicator. A Brown and Stanford graduate, she has worked as a research scientist at Bell Labs and held academic positions at Yale University and MIT. She has written for Time, Scientific American, the American Scientist, and Forbes, and makes regular appearances on PBS's SciTech Now.

Product details

  • Item Weight : 1.55 pounds
  • Hardcover : 328 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0262043807
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0262043809
  • Product Dimensions : 6 x 1.25 x 9 inches
  • Publisher : The MIT Press; Illustrated Edition (April 7, 2020)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 96 ratings