2021 Brown University Book Award
The Brown University Book Award is awarded to an outstanding high school or preparatory school junior who best combines academic excellence with clarity in written and spoken expression.
This year (2020-2021) the Brown University Book Award will be The Alchemy of Us: How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another by Ainissa Ramirez '90.
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. She 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.
The Brown University Book Award is one price, $37.00, which includes shipping and handling.