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The Alchemy of Us: How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another (The MIT Press)

Tekijä: Ainissa Ramirez

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
1535179,971 (3.61)8
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; and how a young chemist exposed the use of Polaroid's cameras to create passbooks to track black citizens in apartheid South Africa. 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 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.… (lisätietoja)
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näyttää 5/5
This book has the following quote from Octavia Butler at the beginning:
All that you touch
You Change.

All that you Change
Changes you...

And that pretty much sums up the basis for this book. Ainissa Ramirez looks at eight different inventions or, in some cases, combinations of inventions and describes how they changed humans. Some of the information is fascinating such as the story in the first chapter about Ruth Belville who took a pocket watch to Greenwich to have its time authenticated and then went around London passing on the correct time to businesses and individuals. Everyone, of course knows the story of how Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone but the first telephone switchboard was invented by an undertaker name Almon Strowger. This then led to the development of transistors and silicon chips. But for every development life as people had known it was changed, and not always for the better. Now that more and more data can be stored on small chips, our privacy is increasingly at risk.

The frontispiece of this book promised that Ramirez would showcase little-known inventors--particularly people of color and women but I didn't really find that was so. Overwhelmingly the people she wrote about were white men and the pictures accompanying the text show only one woman scientist who also happens to be black. There are other books about women and people of colour who have made great contributions to science. Let this one be about what the subtitle promised: How Humans and Matter Transformed one Another. ( )
  gypsysmom | Nov 28, 2023 |
Really interesting and wide ranging. Gave me so many more subjects and events I want to now read about. ( )
  beentsy | Aug 12, 2023 |
This exploration of moments in history through the lens of material science is a very interesting perspective, well-researched and informative.

Yes, there are a few comments on causality and conclusions I don't fully agree with, but that's the same for any commodity history and they are far outweighed by the value of the history that is included. I'm curious how one could say so much about a few sentences on the effect of texting on modern language while completely ignoring the section about Polaroid in South Africa. Curious. ( )
  Kiramke | Jun 27, 2023 |
In this book, Dr. Ainissa Ramirez tells us stories of invention and innovation.

There are several problems with this book. First, the notion that technology changes society isn't new or surprising. And I noticed several errors, including the population stats stated for Chicago, the date of the introduction of the telegraph and more.

It's a bit lightweight. But I think it is a powerful book for inspiring young people to explore technology and think about putting things together in new ways. She does this by telling stories of past innovations, and story telling is a powerful means of teaching and inspiring. ( )
  LynnB | Mar 8, 2022 |
Interesting book with lots of stories showing man’s ingenuity and the impact of their inventions on our lives. My tiny quibble is that there is really no through line here; stories are always interesting but sometimes only tangentially related. Nonetheless. ( )
  PattyLee | Dec 14, 2021 |
näyttää 5/5
ei arvosteluja | lisää arvostelu
Sinun täytyy kirjautua sisään voidaksesi muokata Yhteistä tietoa
Katso lisäohjeita Common Knowledge -sivuilta (englanniksi).
Teoksen kanoninen nimi
Alkuteoksen nimi
Teoksen muut nimet
Alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi
Henkilöt/hahmot
Tärkeät paikat
Tärkeät tapahtumat
Kirjaan liittyvät elokuvat
Epigrafi (motto tai mietelause kirjan alussa)
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
All that you touch / You Change. / All that you Change / Changes you... --Octavia E. Butler
Omistuskirjoitus
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
For my mother and grandmother.
Ensimmäiset sanat
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Ever since I was four I wanted to be a scientist, which made me an unusual little girl in my corner of New Jersey.
Sitaatit
Viimeiset sanat
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
(Napsauta nähdäksesi. Varoitus: voi sisältää juonipaljastuksia)
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Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

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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; and how a young chemist exposed the use of Polaroid's cameras to create passbooks to track black citizens in apartheid South Africa. 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 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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