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‘Reach for the stars’: British scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock honoured with her own Barbie doll | Science & Tech News

A British scientist known for her work with the largest space telescope ever made has been honoured with her own Barbie doll.

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock has been immortalised as a one-of-a-kind plastic toy in her likeness in recognition of her achievements making space and science accessible to girls.

The 54-year-old, recently appointed chancellor of the University of Leicester, is a former British Science Association president and the first black woman to win gold at the Physics News Awards.

She is best known for presenting the BBC’s The Sky At Night.

Her doll, made by toy firm Mattel, wears an appropriately starry dress and comes with a telescope accessory – referencing her work with the James Webb Space Telescope.

The telescope – a successor to the Hubble – was a joint venture between various space agencies and scientists, and launched into space in December 2021.

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock with her Barbie doll
Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock with her Barbie doll

Dr Aderin-Pocock was gifted the Barbie to mark International Women’s Day and British Science Week.

“Since falling in love with the idea of space travel as a young girl, I have spent my career trying to show girls how fascinating space science can be,” she said.

“I want to inspire the next generation of scientists, and especially girls, and let them know that Stem (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) is for them.”

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Dr Aderin-Pocock’s Barbie, which is not going on sale, is one of seven custom dolls Mattel has created to celebrate women blazing trails in the Stem subjects.

The others include YouTube boss Susan Wojcicki and German marine researcher Dr Antje Boetius.

Dr Aderin-Pocock hopes the expanded range of Barbie dolls will help “smash stereotypes”.

“When I was little, Barbie didn’t look like me, so to have one created in my likeness is mind-boggling,” she said.

“It’s such an honour to receive this doll that is celebrating my achievements… My daughter and I danced around the living room when we heard!”

She added: “I hope my doll will remind girls that, when you reach for the stars, anything is possible.”

Barbie doll with scoliosis unveiled as toy company aims to highlight the ‘power of representation’ | UK News

A barbie doll maker has made history by introducing its first doll with scoliosis.

The toy company’s line for Barbie’s little sister, Chelsea, will see a new addition that features curvature of the spine and a removable back brace, aimed at normalising the equipment and encouraging children to celebrate inclusion.

The team at Mattel worked closely with Dr Luke Macyszyn, a board-certified neurosurgeon and specialist in children’s complex spinal disorders, who advised the designers throughout the doll’s development.

The 15cm doll wears a pink dress and has a removable green back brace, white shoes, and her brown hair is styled in waves.

Celebrating inclusivity

Lisa McKnight, executive vice president and global head of Barbie and Dolls at Mattel, said: “We believe in the power of representation and are committed to creating dolls in a variety of looks so that kids can see themselves in Barbie – and now in a line celebrating Barbie’s little sister, Chelsea”.

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The Chelsea doll has a removable back brace and is a way for kids to be more “reflective” of the world around them.

Barbie doll with scoliosis unveiled. Pic: PA
Barbie doll with scoliosis unveiled. Pic: PA

In hopes of creating a conversation, McKnight added: “Our Chelsea line provides infinitely more ways to spark storytelling, all while providing kids with a way to develop their empathy and social processing skills through doll play.”

After being criticised in the past for making dolls too thin and overly sexual, the company have now been creating a more diverse range, but some of these have also sparked controversy.

Some of the dolls included: Wheelchair-using dolls, Plus size, Hijab-wearing and sign language dolls.

In 2022, the company also released its first Barbie with hearing aids – supported by Strictly Come Dancing winner, Rose Ayling-Ellis.