When toys were real and kids were engineers

2nd March 2001 at 00:00
Meccano has a clear edge over Lego, the 1996 Nobel Prize winner for chemistry says.

Sir Harry Kroto, professor of chemistry at Sussex University, described Lego as "pretty linear" in comparison with the old standard, Meccano.

He bet that 100 per cent of British engineers over the age of 40 had Meccano when they were kids. Constructions could be formed in various way and bolted together to give the feeling of real building. That improved skills.

"Now computers have replaced Lego," he lamented.

Professor Kroto described calculus as vital to key aspects of science but berated students' lack of understanding of ratios.

Watching them trying to enlarge or reduce something at the photocopier proved his point, he said.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today