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£8 / £5 concs / Members free
Conway Hall Ethical Society presents:

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

Wednesday 8th April @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Wednesday 8th April @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

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In her new book 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 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 colour 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.

Join us to hear more. The Alchemy of Us will be available on the day.

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.



Website:   http://www.ainissaramirez.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Ainissa-Ramirez-118255615000489/


Twitter: @ainissaramirez / @mitpress

Doors 7.00pm. Start 7.30pm.

Entry £8, £5 concessions (free to Conway Hall Ethical Society members, who should book these tickets in advance via the Book Now button)

Event is subject to capacity, without exceptions. Space will be reserved for ticket holders.

This event is in the Brockway Room on the ground floor (Accessible. Induction loop audio). For accessibility info: conwayhall.org.uk/about/visiting-us



Conway Hall Ethical Society
020 7405 1818

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