The Alchemy of Us: How Technology Shaped Society

Lunchtime Lectures
Friday, March 25, 2022
1:00 p.m. EDT (UTC -4)

In this livestreamed lecture, materials scientist and science writer Ainissa Ramirez discussed how simple materials and the inventions they enabled helped shape society.

She used her latest book, The Alchemy of Us: How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another, to show how everyday inventions influenced language, politics, and even our bodies.

About the Speaker


Ainissa Ramirez headshot

Courtesy of Ainissa Ramirez

Ainissa Ramirez is a materials scientist, a sought-after public speaker and science communicator, and the author of the award-winning book The Alchemy of Us: How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another (The MIT Press, 2020). A Brown and Stanford graduate, she has worked as a research scientist at Bell Labs and held academic positions at Yale and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

She has written for Forbes, Time, Science, The Atlantic, Nature, and Scientific American, and has explained science headlines on CBS, CNN, NPR, PBS, and the History Channel. Ramirez speaks internationally on the topics of science and technology and gave a TED talk on the importance of STEM education. She is currently writing books about science for children.

About the Series

Our virtual Lunchtime Lecture Series takes a rigorous and entertaining approach to exploring topics for scholars and anyone interested in stories about the history of science, technology, and medicine. The talks help expand perceptions of the nature of science and how it’s done.