Tag Archives: Lego

Kingfisher

"Kingfisher" by 'rolli (All Rights Reserved; Used with Permission)

“Kingfisher” by ‘rolli (All Rights Reserved; Used with Permission)

Sure, Legos are way too heavy as a building material to make a bird that could actually fly, but I feel like physics might give this kingfisher a pass. The techniques and creativity used to craft a visually compelling bird using these building blocks always impress me. I have the birds from Thomas Poulson’s collection sitting on my office shelf right now. My favorite of those is the hummingbird, because it is crafted to not only represent the bird, but also to convey the dynamic, kinetic energy of the bird in motion. Builder ‘rolli’s Kingfisher similarly calls to mind that actually animal moving and living in its environment taking this build beyond the recreation of a snapshot to a representation of the thing itself.

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Now coming to the station: The Flatland Express

"Folded Space Syndrome #1" by Amida Na (All Rights Reserved; Used with Permission)

“Folded Space Syndrome #1” by Amida Na (All Rights Reserved; Used with Permission)

Now, imagine what the landscape around this model train would look like.

Remembering the Sedgwick Museum

"Velociraptor" by Bangooh (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

“Velociraptor” by Bangooh (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Photo Credit: Josh Witten (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Photo Credit: Josh Witten (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Yesterday, we featured a lovely Lego sculpture of a running fox by Bangoo H. As one might expect, that was not Bangoo H’s only biologically inspired work. My eye was caught by this depiction of a velociraptor skeleton, which instantly transported me back to Cambridge, UK and the skeleton of the velociraptor’s close relative, Deinonychus, displayed in the Sedgwick Museum.

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Like any museum the Sedgwick Museum had its large, dramatic display pieces. It also had collected items crammed into every conceivable space and drawer (like the fossils of sea urchins in the slide show). There was always too much to take in everything with a single visit. So, each trip involved new discoveries, depending on which cases we chose to explore, which was part of the reason it was a fantastic place to bring our kids over and over again.

Foxy Lego

Turns out “Foxy Lego” totally works as a lyric substitute in the Jimi Hendrix song. Of course, nothing else in the song will make sense, but, really, that is a small price to pay in the face of this fox build by Bangoo H. As I have said before, I find myself particularly compelled by Lego art that represents biology, because both are composed of smaller component parts that individually capture almost none of the essence of the complete thing. I also like sculpture, using any medium, that captures the concept of dynamic motion. This fox checks all those boxes for me.

"Fox" by Bangoo H (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

“Fox” by Bangoo H (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

HT: Brothers Brick

Maud Menten, #ScienceWoman

Which science woman inspires you? That was the question that It’s Okay To Be Smart and Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls are currently asking people to answer in video format.

I couldn’t really pick one, because I know way too many inspiring science women, so I went with Maud Menten: one of the scientists who laid a lot of the groundwork for the field I studied. Only, I didn’t realise she was a woman until years after I first heard about her work!

I used my Lego set again, but this time I also put myself on screen.

It’s kind of embarrassing that I just blindly assumed that all the people in my textbooks were men. Half of the students in my undergrad chemistry department were women, and later half of the PhD students in my grad school biochemistry department were women as well. But at the top level, there were only a handful of female professors. I never really needed female role models to be able to choose science, and I thought I didn’t really care or notice what gender my professors were, but I wonder if I might not have blindly assumed that everyone in textbooks was a man if I had been around more female professors.

Or would I still have assumed that all scientists of the past – the ones mentioned in our books – were men? It’s hard to say, but having more women in top science positions now will change the demographics of the people mentioned in textbooks of the future.