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Dr Hannah Lawther

Profile image of Dr Hannah Lawther
Image of Dr Hannah Lawther

My work:

I look at the chemical makeup of different unknown samples from smelly bacteria to old

(sometimes smelly) books from museums. Knowing what chemicals are in things can give us an understanding of ancient history even help us develop new medicines! I work with an instrument called a mass spectrometer which lets me see how heavy the chemicals are and from there I can match them up with known molecules!

About me:

Country of Origin: United Kingdom

I am an Autistic woman from the Northeast of England and when I was little my dad would tell me all about the elements and what made up everything around us from the water we drink (H2O) to the air we breathe (O2)! I wasn’t always the best student as I was constantly asking questions, which would disrupt class a bit. But once I learned how to find out the information myself, I would spend hours reading textbooks and Wikipedia articles about anything and everything! If I could give young me any advice it would be ‘stay curious and ask even more questions!’


  • Undergraduate honours degree and masters degree from the University of Aberdeen

  • PhD in the School of Chemistry - University of St Andrews, UK

My favourite subject in school:


My hobbies:

I read a lot of books and especially enjoy fantasy books! I also play dungeons and dragons with my friends, playing make believe has helped me keep my mind open to the strange and wonderful world we live in!

How would I describe myself in three words?

Curious, funny, introverted

My dream job as a child:

When I was four, my Mum asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said 'A mad

scientist!', I think I'm doing pretty well at living that dream.

My favourite scientist:

My favourite scientist is Marie Curie, she discovered the radioactive properties of certain chemicals and made huge contributions to helping fight cancer!

My favourite animal:

Crows, they are best known for working together and bring their favourite humans shiny gifts!

Colouring Page:

Black and white illustration of Dr Hannah Lawther
Illustration of Dr Hannah Lawther. Dr Hannah Lawther is using a special instrument called Liquid-Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS) to study the inks used in really old books to understand how it was made.

For more information, please check the Teaching resources page.

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Dr Hannah Lawther Colouring Page
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