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article imageCambridge University hunting for 'Professor of Lego'

By Tim Sandle     Jun 12, 2015 in Odd News
Cambridge - Cambridge University is seeking a professor of Lego. For those with a keen interest in putting plastic bricks together, the post (and salary) might seem appealing. Unfortunately some academic credentials are needed as well.
The driver for the new position has come from the Danish company. The Lego Foundation, the charitable arm of the Lego company, has gifted the Cambridge University, U.K., with £2.5 million ($3.98 million) to fund a "Lego Professorship of Play in Education, Development and Learning."
According to the BBC, the foundation has additionally handed over £1.5 million ($2.3 million) to fund a play research center. The mission statement of the foundation, the Times Education Supplement recounts, is "to make children’s lives better – and communities stronger – by making sure the fundamental value of play is understood, embraced and acted upon."
For those unfamiliar with the range of toys, Lego (or LEGO) is a line of brightly colored plastic construction toys. The aim is to teach children to build things. Over the years, some of the models have become more complex. Lego is popular with many adults too.
The post is open to any application, although strong academic credentials are required in addition to a creative mind and ability to discern multiple patterns in sets of colored bricks. A key research focus will be in understanding how young children learn and develop through play.
As reported in Cambridge University’s magazine The Reporter, Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, the vice-chancellor of the university, states that “he has accepted with gratitude a benefaction of £1.5m from the LEGO Foundation, payable over three years.. to support a Research Centre on Play in Education, Development, and Learning.”
This not Cambridge University's only foray into seemingly bizarre research posts. In 2014, the institution recruited "a doctor of chocolate". This was to find a physicist to research how and why the sweet substance melts.
With the new Lego initiative, perhaps the foundations were laid down last year? Here Digital Journal reported that the company was producing a new wave of scientist figures, including a female astronomer, a paleontologist and a chemist.
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