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Learning about nuclear fusion – with Lego blocks

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FOR most people, playing with multi-coloured plastic blocks is just a bit of fun.
But now Lego bricks are being used to help physics students at Warrington learn about nuclear fusion and astrophysics.
Priestley College borrowed the coloured cubes from York University so that young physicists could construct nuclear elements in class.
Sarah Cuddy, who also studies economics, fine art and completed AS mathematics, said: “It was enjoyable and a great way to visualise a 3D nuclear chart.”
Former Bridgewater High School pupil Gabriel Twist added: “It definitely furthered my understanding to be able to see the stable isotopes in the model we built.”
Binding Blocks is a nuclear physics outreach project that aims to get the public and schools to build a 3D nuclear chart out of Lego.
Along the way, the builders are educated in nuclear fusion, fission, astrophysics and nuclear physics in medicine.
The project gained funding from The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the University of York in 2016.
Students from the university’s physics department teamed up with a group of full-time academics and staff to bring the project to life.
After constructing the building blocks at Priestley College, former St Chad’s RC Comprehensive School pupil Matthew Vermiglio said: “It was interesting using Lego because it was a simple way to learn about something that is very complex.”

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