An Oregon geologist hopes to get ‘em young with a new Lego set proposal that depicts a typical day in the field.
In an effort to inspire young scientists, Albany-based research geologist Circe Verba created a 213-piece “Research Geology” set that’s currently vying for support on Lego Ideas, a Lego-owned submission website for design ideas.
“While shopping for family and friends’ children, I saw a clear distinction in gender-based toys, as well as a lack of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (or STEM-based) toys,” said Verba in an email. “I wanted to find a way to stimulate young minds.”
The proposal includes female and male geologists along with the “obligatory geology dog,” which together can explore a crystal cave. There’s also a lab with an electron microscope, like the one Verba uses at the National Energy Technology Laboratory’s office, to analyze any discovered minerals.
Verba has just over 300 days to campaign for 10,000 supporters. Once she has the supporters, Lego will consider manufacturing her geology set. If the company bites, Verba will receive one percent of the total net sales plus five sets of her design.
So far, the design has been backed by more than 2,300 people on the website.
Verba, originally from Pendleton, has been interested in science since grade school after she was enrolled in a special science and math track. She said she didn’t have many Lego sets growing up, which is part of the reason why she’s so excited about this proposal.
“I would have loved to play with sets with actual science jobs,” she writes. “Lego may have inadvertently assisted me toward a science career as Lego taught me critical thinking skills, to create designs.”
Since getting her PhD in geochemistry from the University of Oregon in 2013, Verba studies geochemistry of engineered rock systems. She’s also making a name for herself in “Lego land”: Verba said she’s collaborating on a submission of Apollo 17, and she’s working on another idea for a field career Lego set.