Handmade: a scientist’s search for meaning through making

7.00pm to 8.30pm, Thursday 13 May

The Royal Institution of Great Britain GB United Kingdom W1S 4BS 21 Albemarle Street London

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Event description

Science has given us a good understanding of the properties of many different materials. It’s the people who know what it feels like to blow up a balloon of glass or measure the temperature of steel just by looking at it.

Join material scientist Anna Ploszajski as she explores the hands-on trial and error that has been built on by generation after generation of experimenters and tinkerers as they understand the materiality of objects far more than any scientist with a textbook.

In this talk, Anna discusses the materials we encounter every day and the young women and craftspeople who are at the forefront of materials science.

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About the speaker

Dr Anna Ploszajski is an award-winning materials scientist, writer, presenter, podcaster, performer, trainer and storyteller based in London. She is a materials generalist, equally fascinated by merino wool as stainless steel, through all the wonderful metals, plastics, ceramics, glasses and natural substances that make up our material world.

Anna channels this passion by storytelling with materials on the screen, radio, stage and page; her first book, Handmade: A Scientist’s Search for Meaning Through Making, is out now. She has also been published by The Guardian, The Times Higher Education Supplement, and Materials World. Anna can often be found London’s pub basements performing stand-up comedy about materials and making. She also frequents science festivals across the country entertaining families with demo-packed shows. Anna’s podcast, Handmade, features weekly chats with artists, makers, movers and shakers all with a love of materials.

Having developed her own unique blend of autobiographical and technical science communication, Anna now trains professional scientists, engineers and school students in the art of scientific storytelling. She has won numerous prestigious industry awards for her work, including Young Engineer of the Year by the Royal Academy of Engineering, and the Silver Medal from the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining. In 2019 Anna was runner-up in the Nesta Tipping Point Prize science writing competition, with a piece on 4D materials.

In her spare time, Anna plays the trumpet in a funk and soul covers band called Don’t Freak Out and is an ultra-endurance open water swimmer; she swam the English Channel in July 2018. Oh, and it’s pronounced “Por-shy-ski”.


Anna's book, 'Handmade: A Scientist's Search for Meaning Through Making', is available to purchase from Amazon and all good book stores. 

Ri Members receive a 20% discount when they buy directly from Bloomsbury. Details of this can be found in your member newsletter. Please contact membership@ri.ac.uk if you need further information. 


The live stream will go live at 6.55pm, and the introduction will begin at 7.00pm. If you register but miss the live stream, the video will be available to you via the same link for up to a week after the event date.

The Royal Institution is part of the Amazon Affiliate Programme and book links on this page are affiliate links, which means it won't cost you any extra but we may earn a small commission if you decide to purchase through the link. All procceeds help support the charitable work of the Ri. Affiliate disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate The Royal Institution earns from qualifying purchases.

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