Virtual Event: Karen Weintraub and Michael Kuchta


Born in Cambridge:
400 Years of Ideas and Innovators


May 5, 2022
7:00 PM ET


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Free - $5 contribution suggested at registration

Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes reporter and author KAREN WEINTRAUB and architect MICHAEL KUCHTA for a discussion of their co-authored book Born in Cambridge: 400 Years of Ideas and Innovators.

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About Born in Cambridge

Cambridge, Massachusetts is a city of “firsts”: the first college in the English colonies, the first two-way long-distance call, the first legal same-sex marriage. In 1632, Anne Bradstreet, living in what is now Harvard Square, wrote one of the first published poems in British North America, and in 1959, Cambridge-based Carter’s Ink marketed the first yellow Hi-liter. W.E.B. Du Bois, Julia Child, Yo-Yo Ma, and Noam Chomsky all lived or worked in Cambridge at various points in their lives. Born in Cambridge tells these stories and many others, chronicling cultural icons, influential ideas, and world-changing innovations that all came from one city of modest size across the Charles River from Boston. Nearly 200 illustrations connect stories to Cambridge locations.

Cambridge is famous for being home to MIT and Harvard, and these institutions play a leading role in many of these stories—the development of microwave radar, the invention of napalm, and Robert Lowell’s poetry workshop, for example. But many have no academic connection, including Junior Mints, Mount Auburn Cemetery (the first garden cemetery), and the public radio show Car Talk. It’s clear that Cambridge has not only a genius for invention but also a genius for reinvention, and authors Karen Weintraub and Michael Kuchta consider larger lessons from Cambridge’s success stories—about urbanism, the roots of innovation, and nurturing the next generation of good ideas.

Praise for Born in Cambridge

“Ever wonder where so many astonishing innovations and inventions were born? If yes, this marvelously researched and beautifully written book about one little city in America is just for you.” —Barry Bluestone, coauthor of The Urban Experience: Economics, Society, and Public Policy

“A fascinating, illuminating, and fun canvas of the key discoveries, inventions, and social movements that exemplify the home of MIT and Harvard—and have shaped or influenced the world over the past 400 years. Historical storytelling at its best.” —Robert Buderi, author of Where Futures Converge: Kendall Square and the Making of a Global Innovation Hub

“A valuable and engaging book about the process of innovation in one city, Born in Cambridge illustrates how Cambridge became a capital of the global knowledge economy.” —James C. O’Connell, author of The Hub’s Metropolis: GreaterBoston's Development from Railroad Suburbs to Smart Growth

Karen Weintraub
Karen Weintraub

Karen Weintraub

Karen Weintraub is a journalist, now working as health reporter at USA Today. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Scientific American, and STAT, and she is the coauthor of The Autism Revolution and Fast Minds.

Michael Kuchta
Michael Kuchta

Michael Kuchta

Michael Kuchta is an architect and campus planner.

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