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

The Alchemy of Us: How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another Audiobook, by Ainissa Ramirez Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Ainissa Ramirez Narrator: Allyson Johnson Publisher: Recorded Books: Gildan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Series: The MIT Press Essential Knowledge Series Release Date: April 2020 ISBN: 9781469078830
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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. Download and start listening now!

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About the Narrator

Allyson Johnson is an actress and singer who began performing at age twelve as coanchor of Bubble Gum Digest, for which she won an Emmy. After earning a degree in psychology from Brown University, she moved to New York where she became a social worker before shifting to a career in television and radio. Johnson has recorded countless commercials, promos, audiobooks, narrations, and animation series.