A Scientist’s Search for Meaning Through Making


Dr Anna Ploszajski





From atomic structures to theories about magnetic forces, scientific progress has given us a good grasp on the properties of many different materials.

However, most scientists can’t measure the temperature of steel just by looking at it, or sculpt stone into intricate statuary, or know how it feels to blow up a balloon of glass. Handmade is the story of materials through making and doing.

Author and materials scientist Dr Anna Ploszajski journeyed into the domain of makers and craftspeople to comprehend how the most popular materials really work.

Anna has the fresh perspective of someone at the forefront of the field. In this talk she explored materials and how they’re used in the world of craft. Along the way, she gave a fuller picture of materials and their place in society; the feminine side of steel, how clay has brought about some of the most advanced aerospace technologies. During the talk she explained that by looking at the atomic scale of glass you could figure out what makes it ‘glassy’.

Through a mixture of memoir, storytelling, stand-up comedy and scientific explanations, this talk took us on a journey through the different materials of science and craft. It’s the story of a young scientist trying to find true meaning in her science, and its – and her – place in the world.

One thing’s for sure, you’ll never look at ‘stuff’ in the same way again!



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