Science and Society | Handmade: A Scientist's Search for Meaning Through Making


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. Join author and materials scientist Dr Anna Ploszajski as she journeys into the domain of makers and craftspeople to comprehend how the most popular materials really work.

This talk will explore ten everyday materials and how they’re used in the world of craft. Along the way, we’ll build 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, and delve down to the atomic scale of glass to find out what makes it ‘glassy’. Through a mixture of memoir, storytelling, stand-up comedy and scientific explanations, journey through the different materials of science and craft and learn 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.

Dr. Anna Ploszajski is an award-winning materials scientist, writer, and storyteller based in London. She’s a materials generalist, equally fascinated by metals, plastics, ceramics, glasses and substances from the natural world. Anna channels her passion for storytelling about materials through writing, podcasting, presenting and training scientists and engineers in the art of storytelling. Handmade: A Scientist’s Search for Meaning Through Making is her first book. In her spare time, Anna plays the trumpet in a funk and soul covers band and is an ultra-endurance open water swimmer.

We invite you to support the author by purchasing a copy of their book from Browseabout Books by calling the store (302-226-2665) or stopping by to purchase a copy. For store hours, please visit their website. Each copy purchased comes with a signed archival bookplate.

The conversation will be moderated by Colin Norman, the former News Editor at Science, and Fred Dylla, Executive Director Emeritus of the American Institute of Physics and author of Scientific Journeys. This event is part of the series Science and Society - Making Sense of the World Around Us, launched by the Lewes Public Library last year and co-organized by Fred Dylla and Linda Dylla.

NOTE: this meeting is being conducted through Zoom. You MUST REGISTER to receive instructions for joining the meeting.

If you have need assistance with registration or getting your Zoom invitation, please email us.

Basic written instructions for using Zoom may be found here and a brief video tutorial may be found here. Closed captioning is available for all our sessions. Information on enabling closed captioning in Zoom may be found here.

This is an online event. Event URL will be sent via registration email.


Event date: 
Tuesday, November 15, 2022 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm
Event address: 
111 Adams Avenue
Lewes, DE 19958