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Smash Lego atoms with a Large Hadron Collider model

A physicist is gathering supporters for an ATLAS experiment Lego mini model that could put a piece of the Large Hadron Collider in the hands of Lego fans everywhere.

ATLAS Lego mini-model
This ATLAS mini model is gathering votes. Sascha Mehlhase

Unfortunately, the Large Hadron Collider is too big to bring home and put on display in your living room. Scientist Sascha Mehlhase created a 4,500-piece Lego model of the collider back in 2011 at a cost of about $2,700. That was also too big for most people.

Now, he has created a smaller model of the ATLAS experiment, a particle physics experiment at the Large Hadron Collider, and put it up as a candidate for an official Lego kit.

The project is on Cuusoo, a site for Lego enthusiasts to share their models and attempt to gather 10,000 votes in order for Lego to consider making their creations as kits. Mehlhase's ATLAS currently has 5,756 supporters, so it has definitely caught the eyes of Lego builders.

The new kit requires only 560 pieces, takes around an hour to construct, and has a materials costs of about $100, making it much more accessible than the big-daddy model.

Mehlhase is a postdoc at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark, working on searches for stable massive particles in ATLAS. He also dedicates time to physics outreach projects aimed at getting kids excited about science. His discovery of a stable massive ATLAS Lego model has led him to the creation of a version that has a shot at ending up in the hands of Lego and physics enthusiasts around the world. If it works out, it will be a pretty impressive outreach accomplishment.

It's heartening to know that adult scientists with access to some of the largest and most impressive scientific equipment ever created still want to play with little plastic blocks.

ATLAS 1:50 model
Mehlhase's original model was much larger. Sascha Mehlhase