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‘Reach for the stars’: British scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock honoured with her own Barbie doll

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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
Image:
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‚Ķ 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.”

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