The Alchemy of Us: How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another
Take a deep dive into how eight inventions shaped the human experience forever. You can read this technology tome with us this November.
Welcome to the SciFri Book Club page about The Alchemy of Us. There’s lots of ways to participate: Read with us, join our community space, attend an event, sign up for our email newsletter, or read an excerpt from the book.
This November, the SciFri Book Club will read The Alchemy of Us: How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another by Ainissa Ramirez. Following the stories of eight inventions, this book explores how materials and their inventors shaped our world. Ramirez also highlights the impact of women inventors and inventors of color in the field of technology, and how their stories were rewritten through mythmaking, bias, and convention. From the telegram to Polaroid cameras, The Alchemy of Us describes the lesser-known consequences of well-known inventions, and shows readers the universality of innovation.
The Alchemy of Us brings together a range of topics, including technology, chemistry, physics, computer science, engineering, history, and more—and we’ll touch on these ideas throughout this Book Club season. You can get your copy from your local bookstore or on Bookshop.org.
This Book Club season kicks off Wednesday, November 1, and you can read along with us! We’ll be (loosely) following this schedule, but all our readers are welcome to join us at their own pace:
Plus, we’ll be hosting events throughout the month! Keep an eye out on our website or join our Events newsletter to be the first to know.
There are so many ways to dive in and participate! You can grab a copy of the book (and support the author and SciFri), read an excerpt from The Alchemy of Us, join the discussion in our online Book Club community, sign up for our email newsletter, or RSVP for our upcoming Book Club events. Check out all the details below.
If you’d like to purchase a physical copy, we encourage you to start local! Check out the SciFri Book Club partner bookstores and libraries—if you’re in the area, consider supporting your local bookseller or public library (plus, mention our Book Club for a percentage off your purchase at participating shops!).
Want more ways to read? This book is available in a few formats via online retailers, your local library, or elsewhere:
Your local library may not currently offer ebook or audiobook access to The Alchemy of Us, but many branches offer the ability for patrons like you to submit book suggestions to your librarians. Look for ways to suggest new titles via the Libby or OverDrive app, a form submission on your library’s website, or a suggestion box at your local branch!
You may have an idea of how our inventions have changed human history and transformed our relationship with the world. Hear from author and materials scientist Ainissa Ramirez on how the reverse is also true—the way our values and stories are baked into the things we create, and the lesser-known people who helped bring them into reality.
Join us online for a conversation with the author on the science featured in the SciFri Book Club pick for November 2023. Come with your queries and wonderings—we’ll be taking your questions in the livestream comments!
Want to meet other SciFri Book Club members, talk about the book selection, and find more resources for deeper learning—all without leaving your home? Our community meeting is the place for you!
This discussion meeting will focus on themes and topics featured in The Alchemy of Us. You’re welcome to join us no matter your reading progress—come chat with other science-interested folks about technology, chemistry, physics, computer science, engineering, history, and more.
And as you start reading, join us on our online community space: the SciFri Book Club is on Mighty Networks, a platform where we can gather, read and discuss science books together. We’ve built this community space to create a better way for readers to stay connected with other Book Clubbers, and we hope you’ll join us there!
Not sure this is the book for you? Want to read an excerpt before you commit? We’ve got you covered.
The MIT Press, publisher for The Alchemy of Us, has offered SciFri Book Clubbers an excerpt of the book! You can read this sample on our website.
Subscribe to SciFri Book Club emails to stay updated on our monthly read sand join us for community discussions. We’ll send emails a few times per week.