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Under construction – ITER in LEGO

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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If you just received your new issue of Scientific American, you saw the article The Problems with ITER and the Fading Dream of Fusion Energy by Geoff Brumfiel. Accompanying image (a little small online, but nice and big in print) is a photograph by Hironobu Maeda of a sculpture by Sachiko Akinaga. It is a LEGO model of the ITER fusion reactor which has been under construction for many years now, and apparently will keep being under construction for many years to come.

You may think that the image is a photoshop, or a drawing, or that perhaps the LEGO model does exist somewhere, perhaps in some studio in Japan, or at ITER construction site itself.

But no. The model is in the middle of the Scientific American newsroom! A couple of weeks ago when I went to our New York City office, I took these photos of the model. Now that the embargo has lifted, I can show you some more details of the model:






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  1. 1. gbrumfiel 11:22 am 05/16/2012

    Dangit Bora! I’m so jealous. I should have had my own LEGO ITER written into my writer’s contract…

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  2. 2. Bora Zivkovic 11:27 am 05/16/2012

    You should have! At least come by the office one day and play!

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  3. 3. Melissa Lott 9:48 pm 05/16/2012

    So awesome! :-)

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  4. 4. jtdwyer 10:45 pm 05/16/2012

    If they had only used LEGOs to model the planned process in advance they could have avoided all these problems!
    Very cute, though!

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  5. 5. jimmy boy 1:57 am 05/17/2012

    other people play with legos too not just kids and myth busters? hum?

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  6. 6. Bora Zivkovic 9:19 pm 05/17/2012

    If they used LEGOs to actually build the thing, they would have finished construction by now ;-)

    Link to this

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