Zoe Laughlin

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Dr Zoe Laughlin is an artist, engineer, material scientist and broadcaster. She’s co-founder and director of the Institute of Making at University College London. Her mission is to explore all aspects of how things are made, what they are made out of and how these materials have changed the world. Zoe’s work is all about art, craft, science and engineering of ‘stuff’.

Often found conducting ambitious experiments with infectious enthusiasm, she became the first resident scientist on ITV’s This Morning and you can see clips of her exploits here.

Zoe has featured in a number of landmark BBC documentaries such as Fireworks for a Tudor Queen (BBC4), where she investigated the fascinating history of fireworks, using 400-year-old documents to recreate one of the most spectacular fireworks displays from the Tudor period. As a regular on The Big Life Fix (BBC 2), along with other leading inventors, she creates ingenious new solutions to everyday problems and life-changing solutions for people in desperate need.

In the RTS-nominated The Secret Life of Landfill (BBC4) Zoe chronicled the history of rubbish and explored how what we throw away tells us about the way we live our lives. You can see a clip of an autopsy being conducted on a smart phone whilst on the landfill site here.

For the The Secret Story of Stuff (BBC4) Zoe went on a journey to discover innovations in materials and manufacturing that are set to change the world, such as ever-lasting teeth, 5D memory glass, pineapple leather and mushroom heat-shields.

On radio, Zoe is a regular panellist on BBC Radio 4’s The Kitchen Cabinet and an occasional contributor to the Today Programme, whilst also hosting and producing the hit podcast “The Things That Make Us”.

Zoe’s work ranges from experimental research to large-scale public exhibitions and events with partners including Tate Modern, the V&A and the Welcome Collection. Her work has also been shown in the Science Museum and the Design Museum.

With regular appearances at science and arts festivals, she is also a trustee of the Crafts Council and works with Speakers 4 Schools.

Her qualifications include a PhD in Materials from the Division of Engineering at King’s College London and an MA in Scenography and Sculpture from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. She’s a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts and has written a book entitled “Material Matters: New Materials in Design”.

When she’s not making and inventing, Zoe is a successful amateur poker player and less successful electric guitarist.