ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:
On January 1st, Janssen finished building a replica of Ohio State's famous football stadium, known as the Horseshoe. It is made entirely of LEGOs, a million of them, by his own estimate. And Professor Janssen joins us now. Welcome to the program, and congratulations.
P: Thank you for having me.
SIEGEL: What kind of scale are we talking about? How big is the model of the Horseshoe made out of LEGOs?
P: The model I made is in a scale of one to 120.
SIEGEL: I assume this required a good deal of planning, you didn't just work from a snapshot tacked to the table. What did you do?
P: That's correct. I actually started planning this five years ago, and it took me three years to plan, collect pieces and sort pieces. In these big projects, often the planning stages take quite a long time, and once you figure out how to build it and what pieces you need, then building itself can actually go pretty swiftly.
SIEGEL: A million LEGOs, though. I don't know what the current street value of a LEGO block is, but this sounds like a pretty expensive project that you've undertaken.
P: All in all, it added up, but a lot of these pieces, I've had since I was a kid. I grew up playing with LEGOs. A lot of my friends, I trade bricks I don't need and get bricks I want. So I didn't actually have to buy every single brick.
SIEGEL: Now, let's address a serious problem with LEGOs here. If you put LEGO people into the stands of your model of the Horseshoe, how many can fit into it?
P: I estimate, and it's got to be pretty accurate, about 6,000 of these little LEGO men would fit in the stadium.
SIEGEL: And the real Horseshoe stadium seats how many?
P: Just over 106,000, I believe.
SIEGEL: So even without being scientists, we know that the LEGO people are seriously out of scale.
P: Yes, they are. They are pretty wide for their height.
SIEGEL: Now, I have to say, as a non-LEGO user, I am astonished by how you could achieve the curve of the Horseshoe.
P: The specific curve was not - is not a single piece. It's - I stacked a whole bunch of rectangular bricks, and there's a little bit of play in them. So if you make a large sheet of just rectangular bricks, you can bend it slightly. And since the stadium is pretty big, this bend actually allowed me to make the outside of the stadium, the curves appear completely smooth.
SIEGEL: Was your wife indulgent during this time, or did the LEGO stadium become the other woman down in the basement who was claiming too much of your attention?
P: No, she - my wife is fine with this. And my kids are, as well. It may seem to - when I tell people I spent 1,000 hours on this, that's a lot, but given that the average U.S. person watches TV for 150 hours a month, and I only watch for 50 hours a month, I don't watch much TV, there's 100 hours every month that I had available, and I spent 50 on building the LEGO stadium and 50 on my work and my family.
SIEGEL: Thank you very much for talking with us about your project.
P: You're welcome.
SIEGEL: That's Paul Janssen, associate professor of physiology and cell biology at Ohio State, talking about the model he has made exclusively with LEGOs of the Ohio State University stadium, the Horseshoe.
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