**Playing with Lego** via brookhavenlab

Even Nobel Prize winners like to play with Legos. Here, Peter Higgs — theorist of the eponymous Higgs particle — signs a Lego scale model of the ATLAS detector, which was instrumental in tracking down the particle that carries his name (and endows some particles with mass).

**An ATLAS detector that fits on your desk**

I must remember that the ATLAS detector was one of the two detectors (the other is CMS) that discovered the new like-Higgs boson in 2012.

Sascha Mehlhase’s design for an ATLAS detector made of LEGO will be considered for construction after winning 10,000 votes on a website for enthusiasts (Image: Sascha Mehlhase)

**Lego and DNA**

**Yonggang Ke**, **Luvena L. Ong**, **William M. Shih**, **Peng Yin** described an interesting brick model for the DNA that is analogous to LEGO^{®} brick structures:

We describe a simple and robust method to construct complex three-dimensional (3D) structures by using short synthetic DNA strands that we call “DNA bricks.” In one-step annealing reactions, bricks with hundreds of distinct sequences self-assemble into prescribed 3D shapes. Each 32-nucleotide brick is a modular component; it binds to four local neighbors and can be removed or added independently. Each 8–base pair interaction between bricks defines a voxel with dimensions of 2.5 by 2.5 by 2.7 nanometers, and a master brick collection defines a “molecular canvas” with dimensions of 10 by 10 by 10 voxels. By selecting subsets of bricks from this canvas, we constructed a panel of 102 distinct shapes exhibiting sophisticated surface features, as well as intricate interior cavities and tunnels.

The first picture was extracted from the divulgative article:

Gothelf K.V. (2012). LEGO-like DNA Structures, Science, 338 (6111) 1159-1160. DOI: 10.1126/science.1229960

(A) A DNA brick consists of four regions of 8 nucleotides each and corresponds to a two-stud LEGO brick. Half–DNA-bricks corresponding to one-stud LEGO bricks are used for edges. DNA bricks are connected by an 8–base pair hybrid, causing a 90° shift between two layers. (B) Ke et al. used one- and two-stud bricks (represented by the LEGO bricks in the blue frame) to assemble a 10 by 10 by 10 voxel cuboid (C). With subsets of the bricks used for the cuboid, the authors also assembled many other shapes, such as a space shuttle–like structure, shown both as a LEGO (D) and DNA model (E). The extra bricks in the red-framed section in (B) are the boundary and protector bricks required for formation of the space shuttle structure.

The second image is extracted from the research paper:

Ke Y., Ong L.L., Shih W.M. & Yin P. (2012). Three-Dimensional Structures Self-Assembled from DNA Bricks, Science, 338 (6111) 1177-1183. DOI: 10.1126/science.1227268

(Source: sciencemag.org)

*Lego Rubik*, a 3d rendering by **Jeremy Mallin**

A **Turing Machine** built using LEGO

A Turing machine is a device that manipulates symbols on a strip of tape according to a table of rules. Despite its simplicity, a Turing machine can be adapted to simulate the logic of any computer algorithm, and is particularly useful in explaining the functions of a CPU inside a computer.

The “Turing” machine was described by Alan Turing in 1936,^{(1)}who called it an “a(utomatic)-machine”. The Turing machine is not intended as a practical computing technology, but rather as a hypothetical device representing a computing machine. Turing machines help computer scientists understand the limits of mechanical computation.

(via Wikipedia)

If you want, you can read my posts dedicated to Alan Turing on Doc Madhattan (english) and DropSea (italian)

(1) Turing, A.M. (1937). On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society, s2-42 (1) 265. DOI: 10.1112/plms/s2-42.1.230 (scan version)

LHC Lego ModelSascha Mehlhase, a physicist at Denmark’s Niels Bohr Institute, has created a scale replica of the ATLAS particle detector from Legos. It took Mehlhase 35 hours to construct the model. The model of the detector required 9,500 Lego bricks. The Large Hadron Collider recreation even includes a tiny Lego engineer that wonders the tunnels of the Atlas detector’s huge magnets. The piece, in total, cost $2,600.

LEGO Albert EinsteinThe LEGOland park in Orlando, Florida - hosts this enormous LEGO bust of Albert Einstein. Measuring in at 20 feet tall by 10 feet wide, it took a team of 7 LEGO builders about 4 months to complete!