Looking at all the angles for Lego connections

Building with Lego is restricted to straight lines and right angles

The March 24 article on Lego Mania reports, “Engineers and computer scientists use Lego bricks to work out design problems [and] test scientific theories.” Sather said, “Lego bricks allow for near-infinite creativity…”

This is not quite true. Lego blocks must be connected to each other in straight lines (180 degrees) or at right angles (90 degrees.) Objects in the natural world connect to each other at other angles.

In the early 1950s several scientists were striving to figure out the structure of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid, the molecule which stores information for cells). The X-ray crystallographer Rosalind Frank generated photograph 51. Watson looked at the photograph without Franklin’s knowledge. The photo suggested an idea to Watson and he had the machine shop at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge (U.K.) create a metal model of the famous double helix.

The model is still in the Museum at the Cavendish Laboratory (cabinet 7.) It has few 90 degree angles. Watson and Crick got a Nobel prize in 1962 for figuring out the structure of DNA. Some people think Franklin should have got more credit.

Playing with Lego stimulates some kinds of creative thinking more than does looking at a computer screen or TV. Maybe Robin Sather could make a double helix out of Lego at Tillicum Centre.

Robert Shepherd