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'On Tuesday 15th March, Dr Anna Ploszajski visited the school to deliver a lecture entitled Broken Gears and No Ideas to the UV (Year 11) and Sixth Form for this year’s British Science Week. The lecture itself gave a compelling insight to life as a materials scientist, and how materials science is actually a part of everyday life without us realising. Dr Ploszajski led those attending through her personal account of how she stumbled across an Oxbridge materials science course, knowing next to nothing about the subject, and how it then turned into a career and something she truly loves to do every day, explaining how concepts as small as brittle and ductile fracture can be seen in examples as large as land speed racing. However, there were larger concepts that were a topic of discussion, such as powering cars and other portable objects by using hydrogen, and how a lot of the challenges that came with that involved material science. She also spoke about her experiences in research, and throughout the lecture explained how her love for materials science evolved in a realistic (and quite comedic) manner by using a graph.

Dr Ploszajski then went on to talk about science communication and introducing those who do not necessarily know much about the topic, into a wonderfully spellbinding world. In her case, it was through comedy and her own book Hand-Made, briefly touching on how her own personal experiences shaped her passion for science, such as swimming the channel and even travelling to work in a lab at NASA! She explained that her book goes into this in greater depth, intertwining personal accounts with the tales of other materials – hopefully Hand-Made will be in high demand in the school library over the coming days and weeks. Overall, it was a truly inspiring and thought-provoking lecture'.

by Robin, UV (Year 11)