First proposed by the American physicist Gerard O’Neill in the 70s, an O’Neill Cylinder is a large tube, pressurised with an atmosphere, and spinning to create artificial gravity. The hull features alternating strips of “land” and transparent windows, allowing sunlight to be reflected inside from large mirrors. The cylinder has become an iconic design, familiar from a raft of TV, movie, and videogame depictions of mankind’s future. Ralf Langer has built a beautiful LEGO version of an O’Neill-based space colony, using microscale to ensure his space settlement features fields and trees, flowing rivers, and towering cities. The rings supporting the curved land panels have technical-looking greebles, and the entire creation looks much bigger than it really is. This is epic LEGO sci-fi, depicting a future I’d love to see.
Great museums like the American Museum of Natural History in New York City include educational displays that span the entire history of life on earth, from samples of banded iron (chemical evidence of early lifeforms such as stromatolites) to dioramas of creatures from the Cambrian half a billion years ago to the Holocene today. But you don’t have to travel to a museum in a far-off city to see great tableaus that illustrate early life on our planet — just check out this colorful scene built in LEGO by Luis Peña. Luis’s scene features an ammonite and sea jelly bobbing along in the warm current above a trilobite scrabbling along the ocean floor. Luis has included pearl-gold pieces in the ammonite’s shell, capturing the pearlescent look of the extinct creature’s nacre.
Brothers Brick regular Alanboar explores the link between LEGO art and science in his latest Butterfly Mimicry creation; his exquisite case of mounted butterfly specimens being made in honour of pioneering naturalist Henry Walter Bates. The concept of Batesian mimicry argues that harmless species, such as these butterflies, evolve the markings of poisonous animals avoided by predators.
Tracing the subtle differences in pattern across these beautiful LEGO butterflies, each created from a limited set of elements, reminds me of our understanding of the malleability of genetic code and the way Bates’ work foreshadowed these discoveries.
Many people see LEGO building as art, me very much included, but there are examples of creations which take this a step further and fully embrace their artistic potential. Often depending on composition and built for one perfect picture, builds like this symbolic image of the beginning of a new life inspire many builders to keep improving and create stunning art from what is, in essence, a toy. Sad Brick has generated a great deal of interest with his latest creation and it would not be surprising seeing it serve as inspiration for the next generation of LEGO fans.
The build itself is very simple, as there are no more than three bricks connected into any of the elements here, but simplicity is sometimes exactly what we need to portray a message. Of course, this is not a simple image of a microscopic view of conception, because all the cells are replaced with different shapes of eggs. This adds a layer of ambiguity to the picture, and since the builder does not provide a description, only you can decide what the symbolism means!
In July 1975, American Astronauts and Soviet Cosmonauts met in low Earth orbit, shook hands, exchanged gifts, and conducted joint scientific experiments as they docked their spacecraft together for over 40 hours. Luis Peña has recreated this historic spaceflight in LEGO, complete with an Astronaut conducted an EVA (Extra-Vehicular Activity). Like the designers of the wonderful LEGO Saturn V set, Luis has overcome the inherent challenges of building conical and spherical shapes in LEGO, with the Apollo Command/Service Module in gray and the Soyuz 7K-TM in iconic sand green.
The title of this work by Leonid An is called Deadline! and aptly depicts the molecular structure of epinephrine (more commonly known as adrenaline) and a shadowed clock with one minute until midnight. I really like the use of the magnifying glass and the T-bars for the hydroxyl groups. This totally takes me back to when I was in college organic chemistry ten years ago — minus the stress of studying for tests!
World-renowned theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking has passed away at the age of 76. While his professional accomplishments are well-known (and too numerous to list here), he was also a staple of popular culture, making cameos in numerous television shows and even becoming the subject of a 2014 bio-pic.
Among the many parodies of Professor Hawking was the LEGO version that I built 11 years ago, which continues to be rediscovered by people across the web to this day. Over the past decade I’ve had fun watching him pop up in mass media, and have also featured him in a variety of comical new situations. And exactly 1 year ago this week, this little LEGO model travelled on the same zero gravity flight that his real-world counterpart had taken 10 years earlier …the event that had inspired me to create this build in the first place. Thank you for allowing us to ride your coat-tails, Mr Hawking; rest in peace, and congratulations on beating the odds and having an amazing life that was an inspiration to us all!
As every schoolchild knows, Maria Skłodowska-Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and the only person to win one in two different fields (Physics in 1903 and Chemistry in 1911). Sadly, this Polish-French luminary of science died young due to her work understanding the nature of radiation. Polish builder Crises_CRS has captured Madame Curie in her laboratory, surrounded by the equipment she used to discover Polonium and Radium.
The Polish LEGO club Zbudujmy is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Poland’s independence this year with a series of LEGO creations. I’m very much looking forward to seeing what’s in store from this very talented community of builders.
LEGO recently unveiled its latest LEGO Ideas set, 21312 Women of Nasa. The set includes four minifigures depicting women astronauts, scientists, and engineers from throughout the US space program’s history. LEGO sent The Brothers Brick an early review copy of the set, which is due out on November 1st.
While the minifigures are certainly the heroes of the set, the set also includes three mini-builds, with 231 pieces. When released, the set will retail for $24.99. Given the science-oriented, minifig-centric nature of both LEGO Ideas sets, comparisons to 21110 Research Institute will be inevitable among LEGO fans, and we’ll do our best to compare and contrast them along the way.
Back in February, we shared the news that LEGO Ideas chose Maia Weinstock’s Women of NASA project as one of their newest additions to the LEGO family. Today, LEGO is unveiling 21312 Women of NASA, available November 1. The primarily minifigure set has 231 pieces, and will retail for $24.99 USD.
The model, similar to LEGO Ideas 21110 Research Institute, includes four minifigures based on real-life NASA pioneers: astronomer and educator Nancy Grace Roman; computer scientist and entrepreneur Margaret Hamilton; astronaut, physicist, and entrepreneur Sally Ride; and astronaut, physician, and engineer Mae Jemison.
21312 Women of NASA also includes three mini-builds illustrating three areas of science including programming software for the space program, a model of the Hubble Space Telescope and a mini Space Shuttle Challenger with three removable rocket stages
No, it’s not the tagline of a new superhero blockbuster, it’s Brian Kescenovitz‘s LEGO version of the day in July 1945 when humans created the world’s largest synthetic firework display ever seen, proving conclusively the destructive truth behind Einstein’s famous formula: Mass times the speed of light squared really does equal a whole lot of kinetic energy.
Brian’s chef-hatted mushroom cloud looks just like one of the old photographs of this event. The stunning lighting effect was achieved using a tight-beam flashlight shining straight down and shooting with a long 1.6 second exposure. I love how the miniature New Mexico mountains and blurred objects in the foreground give this micro-scale fulmination a real sense of magnitude.
Disclaimer: Playing with nuclear weapons is really a very silly idea.
We are all born winners. Right from the start, we can say that we have won our first race. Kosmas Santosa has captured that first race in nature in LEGO using the Panel 4 x 4 x 13 Curved Tapered with Clip at Each End to shape the little swimmers’ heads. The grayscale palette and some nice lighting really help these fun little guys look their best on their big day.