A new LEGO set honoring four pioneering women of NASA includes the first ever Unitarian Universalist minifigure: Dr. Nancy Grace Roman. A lifelong UU, Roman was NASA’s chief astronomer for twenty years, during which she helped design the Hubble Space Telescope, earning her the unofficial title “Mother of Hubble.”
In addition to Roman, the 231-piece Women of NASA LEGO set features computer scientist and entrepreneur Margaret Hamilton; astronaut, physician, and engineer Mae Jemison; and astronaut, physicist, and entrepreneur Sally Ride, as well as three models related to their areas of expertise. The miniature Roman stands beside a 2-inch posable Hubble Space Telescope with a projected image of a planetary nebula.
Roman, 92, is a longtime member of River Road UU Congregation in Bethesda, Maryland. Interviewed by UU World in 2011, when NASA created the Nancy Grace Roman Technology Fellowships in Astrophysics, she said: “I think that the fact that my willingness to buck tradition, especially when people told me science was not a role for women, as they often did when I was young, may have been influenced by the fact I had been brought up to think away from tradition. Unitarianism got me thinking independently and perhaps gave me the courage to fight tradition.”