Other Publications

May 2022

ISBN 978-1-913029-93-7


Parallel Minds

Discovering the Intelligence of Materials

Parallel Minds is a welcome guide to contemporary debates about material intelligence: calm and measured, it is also bold in its ambitions and unafraid to face the challenges posed by an increasingly—and often disconcertingly—smart and lively world in which culture is inseparable from technology.

Sadie Plant, author of Zeros and Ones

Tripaldi’s book is the most important philosophical surprise of recent years. It outlines a research programme in which philosophy and chemistry, the science of living beings and morality will have to work together in order to overcome all the dualisms that have marked modernity. Radical and erudite, very readable, and revolutionary, Tripaldi’s book is sure to become a great contemporary classic.

Emmanuele Coccia, author of Metamorphoses

Is there a way to understand the materials that surround us not as passive objects, but as other intelligences interacting with our own?

In Parallel Minds, expert in materials science and nanotechnology Laura Tripaldi delivers not only detailed insights into the properties and emergent behaviours of matter as revealed by state-of-the-art chemistry, synthetic biology, and nanotech, but also a rich philosophical reflection that crosses the frontier between nature and culture, and where the most cutting-edge scientific syntheses resonate with ancient myth.

The result is a technomaterial bestiary full of unexpected encounters with ‘strange minds’—from cobwebs to kevlar and carbon fibre, from centaurs to amoebas to arachnids, from polycephalic slime to resonating plasmons, from viruses to golems. In leading us through this labyrinth of intelligent materials, Tripaldi picks up the thread of new materialisms and—in the historical weave between ‘women’s work’ and the ‘unnatural sciences’—contemporary feminisms.

Parallel Minds reveals the intelligence at large throughout the natural and technical environment, in the fabric of our devices and dwellings, in our clothes, and even under our skin. Full of lateral ideas and unexpected images, Tripaldi’s book imbues the study and synthesis of materials with a new urgency. For not only do the materials that surround us participate actively in the construction of the world in which we live, but harnessing their ability to interact intelligently with their environment could be the key to the future of our species.

ERRATUM: Owing to an editorial error, the index in the printed book is mis-numbered, please see the revised index here (PDF file).