Michael Laing (born in Durban, South Africa) taught chemistry at the University of Natal, Durban from 1964 until he retired as Professor of Inorganic Chemistry in 1997. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in the field of x-ray crystallography, specializing in the determination of molecular structure. He has published papers on bonding, coordination compounds, and molecular geometry; and many articles in US and UK about the periodic table, and chemical education.
He has also been engaged in the application of x-ray powder diffraction to solving problems in such diverse fields as urinary calculi, road soils, platinum refining, fossils and breccia; and has taught specialist courses for architecture students on Materials and Failures. For 30 years his annual Christmas Chemical Magic Show has drawn audiences of hundreds.