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Ainissa Ramirez

Ainissa Ramirez

The Alchemy of Us: How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another

Dr. Ainissa Ramirez earned her doctorate in materials science and engineering from Stanford, worked as a scientist at Bell Laboratories, and as an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Yale and visiting professor at MIT.

Following her career in academia, she has focused on "science evangelism" lecturing widely and creating podcasts, videos and programs aiming to make science accessible and engaging for a wider audience. Her books includeThe Alchemy of Us: How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another, Newton’s Football: The Science Behind America's Game and Save Our Science.

In The Alchemy of Us, scientist and author 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 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. [bio courtesy of MIT Press ]

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