06/04/20: How humans and matter transformed one another | The Royal Institution

april, 2020

06apr19:0020:3006/04/20: How humans and matter transformed one another | The Royal Institution

Royal Institution event


Event Details

How did the brevity of the telegram influenced Hemingway’s writing style? How did a young chemist expose the use of Polaroid’s cameras to create passbooks to track black citizens in apartheid South Africa?

This talk 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.

Science writer Ainissa Ramirez examines eight inventions, revealing the fascinating and inspiring stories of our relationships with technologies.

About the speakers

Ainissa G. Ramirez is a science evangelist who is passionate about getting the general public excited about science.

Dr Ramirez received her training in materials science and engineering from Brown University and Stanford University. Prior to being on the faculty at Yale, she was a research scientist at Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, in Murray Hill, New Jersey were she did award-winning research. She has authored more than 50 technical papers, holds six patents, and has presented her work worldwide.

She now focuses her energies on making science fun, and gave an impassioned called to action at TED on the importance of understanding science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), which generated widespread enthusiasm. At Yale, she was the director of the award-winning science lecture series for children called ‘Science Saturdays’ and hosted two popular-science video series called ‘Material Marvels’ and ‘Science Xplained’.

The event will be introduced by Nicola Davis. Nicola writes about science, health and environment for the Guardian and Observer and was commissioning editor for Observer Tech Monthly. Previously she worked for the Times and other publications. She has a MChem and DPhil in Organic Chemistry from the University of Oxford. Nicola also presents the Science Weekly podcast.


The doors will open at approximately 6.30pm, with a prompt start at 7.00pm. There will be time for questions after the talk.

Book signing

Copies of Ainissa’s book, ‘The Alchemy of Us: How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another’, will be available for purchase and signing after the talk.



(Monday) 19:00 - 20:30


The Royal Institution of Great Britain

21 Albemarle Street, London, W1S 4BS

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