Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Mary Anning

I've been slacking off in blogging, but today's Google doodle is a good prompt for me. Today is the 215th anniversary of Mary Anning's birth. Anning was a fossil collector and paleontologist in Britain in the early 19th century, and her finds helped shape an understanding of prehistoric creatures. Her interest in fossils began very early, when she and her brother Joseph found fossils in the cliffs along the English Channel, as shown here in LEGO form by Fossil Friends. One of their important finds was an ichthyosaur. This LEGO ichthyosaur was built by Bright-Bricks as part of an event this past weekend at the Lyme Regis Museum in Dorset, England. Kids who attended the event could even build their own LEGO ichthyosaurs.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Welcome to the National Science Centre, Mr. Armstrong

This weekend was the Brickish Weekend at the National Space Centre in the UK. Members of the Brickish Association and other AFOLs displayed space-themed MOCs, and members of the public could help assemble a couple of large creations, I think both designed by Bright-Bricks. Bienvenue sur la lune, Mr. Armstrong was a large mosaic featuring Tintin. In the early 1950's Tintin traveled to the moon in a series of comics. A decade and a half later, after the Apollo 11 mission, Hergé, the creator of Tintin, drew this cartoon as a gift to Neil Armstrong. The other model created during the event was a large V2 Rocket. The V2 was developed by the Germans during World War II as a ballistic missile. They launched over 3000 of these at London and other Allied targets. After the war, the US, UK and USSR captured both rockets and scientists, using them to develop their own weapons. The V2 rocket design and many of the German scientists that worked on it became part of the NASA program, and ultimately led to the Saturn V rocket. Fittingly, to bring this all together, the rocket that brought Tintin to the moon in the comics was also visually based on the V2 rocket, in a red and white color scheme.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Brickish Weekend at National Space Centre UK

If you're a science-minded LEGO fan in the UK, you might want to check out the Brickish Weekend at the National Space Centre in Leicester. You'll probably see lots of great space-themed LEGO creations, and attendees will participate in building a large mosaic. Here's a segment - I've got no inside information on how the overall design of the mosaic will turn out, but I'm guessing this will be one small step for man ...

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Periodic table

The periodic table, here by Richard Harrison, lays out all of the different elements, the different types of atoms that make up the world around us. There are a little over a hundred different types known, and some scientists are continuing to work on finding bigger and bigger elements. The elements get bigger and bigger as you read left to right and down the table (technically this is increasing atomic number). The key insight that helped Mendeleev categorize the elements was that when you list them in order there are repeating, or periodic properties. The lines are broken up so that everything within a column has these periodic properties. Chemists can look at where an element is on the table, and what other elements are nearby, and make conclusions about the properties of that element.