In which I receive a gift

What do you buy the female scientist who has everything?

A few days ago I noticed a news clip in the London Evening Standard, mentioning that a new line of Lego featuring women researchers had sold out within hours of being offered for purchase online.

Women Scientist Lego hits news

These are glad tidings, given that Lego has previously sustained complaints for sexist stereotyping in its toys. I myself felt physically ill the last time I passed one of Lego’s horrid pink and purple collections aimed at little girls. Having grown up with Lego back when it was just primary-colored bricks and I could play at architect instead of bikini-clad sunbathing bimbo, I felt that the company had left me, and probably many kids, far behind.

Joshua, enjoying some old-fashioned Lego bricks acquired circa the year 2000.

While all is not totally forgiven, I was cheered by this news. I also secretly wanted to own the collection, but assumed it would be too difficult to get a hold of.

This evening, as a wedding anniversary present, Richard surprised me (after a long, dispiriting and existentially tenuous day at work) with my very own box!

Women Scientist Lego Box

And it’s no exaggeration to say that I was as excited as an undergraduate lab intern trying on her first white coat. I can’t wait to assemble them all – a chemist, a paleontologist, and an astronomer. And I am especially excited by the accessories – check out these itty-bitty Gilson pipettors!

Women Scientist Lego Accessories

It was Richard who first noticed one of the best features of this ingenious set: the scientist heads are reversible, so you can have them display either a studious/benevolent expression, or one that is considerably vexed at the nonstop vicissitudes of the scientific life. Just pulled an all-nighter, only to drop your beaker on the floor in the morning from sheer exhaustion? Just found out that your grant application was rejected – for the fifth time – or that Nature wants you to do so many revisions that it would take approximately thirty years to satisfy the referees? No problem – there’s a scowl for every occasion.

And for that rare Eureka moment? A slightly skeptical twitch of a smile that almost dares not linger, lest the whole intellectual edifice come crashing down.


Note added after publication: These Lego researchers have their own Twitter account! Thanks to Hans Zauner for kindly pointing this out.

About Jennifer Rohn

Scientist, novelist, rock chick
This entry was posted in Silliness, Stereotypes, The profession of science, Women in science. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to In which I receive a gift

  1. That is possibly the single most awesome thing I’ve seen all year. 😀

  2. Also – Happy Anniversary to you and Richard Prime. 🙂

  3. cromercrox says:

    Send picture of dinosaur.

  4. cromercrox says:

    Is that the F1 assuming a bipedal stance? Goodness.

  5. rpg says:

    He’s been doing that for about a month and a half now! Next milestone in path to world domination: walking unaided.

  6. cromercrox says:

    Actually, I have a problem with Lego, and it’s this – does the fabrication of custom pieces (whether scientists or spaceships) detract from the challenge of creating objects from the small selection of rather boring ingredients some of us had when we were kids? To pursue a biological analogy: synthesizing one’s own stretch of DNA from As, Cs, Gs and Ts must be much more satisfying than ordering a custom-made sequence by mail order.

  7. rpg says:

    I hear that argument a lot, Henry, but looking at my own collection of “bucket” bricks and custom jobbies, I don’t think there’s much truth to it.

    Pretty sure that in a couple of years (once Joshua learns not to *eat* the bricks) Dr Weizmann there will be flying spaceships or building bridges over the Carpet River.

    Also, Tyrannosaurs in F14s!

  8. cromercrox says:

    Tyrannosaurs in F14s are cool. But whatever happened to imagination, huh?

Comments are closed.