Handmade: A Scientist’s Search for Meaning through Making

Anna Ploszajski

When discussing materials, scientists typically think of quantitative characteristics such as a substance’s melting point, density, and the amount of pressure it can withstand. However, the earliest people who studied materials didn’t do their research in a laboratory to measure how much force an object could bear; rather, they worked with their hands to create various objects.

In her book Handmade: A Scientist’s Search for Meaning through Making, Anna Ploszajski, who is a materials scientist in her own right, revisits these historical beginnings in order to investigate in a more hands-on manner. She gains knowledge from the hard-won experience of previous generations of professionals in several fields, including clay, sugar, steel, glass, paper, and more.