Original LEGO calculation busted by math professor

Chris Burns - Jul 28, 2015, 4:50 pm CDT
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Original LEGO calculation busted by math professor

This Friday a documentary will be released by the name of “A LEGO Brickumentary,” and in it, a math professor will tell you how many different LEGO creations you can make. Of course the real number isn’t entirely feasible to calculate. Back in 1958, LEGO estimated and suggested through a patent (as created by the original LEGO creator’s son, Godtfred Kirk Christiansen) that six standard LEGO bricks could potentially be stacked in around 103-million ways. According to math professor Soren Eilers, whoever suggested 103-million was about 900-million off the mark. Behold this tiny brick clip.

The documentary isn’t just about this mathematics calculation – this is just one tiny clip. The documentary, narrated by actor Jason Bateman, aims to be the definitive history and modern chronicling of the LEGO universe. Everything from the wooden origins to the most recent wave of LEGO fans, young and old.

The bit you’re about to see shows Professor Eilers speaking about how simple LEGO’s original calculation was for the infamous 6-brick stack. He suggests that LEGO’s number only takes into account bricks stacked upward, one on top of the other.

When you add in two bricks next to one another, another brick on top, and the rest in a cube, well… things get complicated. He’s not finished doing calculations. After a week, he suggested that 915,104,765 is a slightly more accurate figure for the number of ways six standard LEGO bricks might be placed in combination with one another.

Each time you add another brick to this equation, it takes “about a hundred times more.” The calculation Eilers made takes about 5 minutes now, meaning calculating the 6-brick combination takes about 6-hours, 8-bricks took the professor about 20.83 days, and so on.

Eilers suggests that “if I were to count 9 or 10, this would probably take years, maybe hundreds of years.” We’ll leave him to it.

Below you’ll see a clip about “Master Builders.”

Meanwhile you can dive in on our LEGO tag portal for more LEGO bits – including LEGO set reviews, previews for new sets, and rarities, too! You can also look forward to “A LEGO Brickumentary” set to be released this Friday on multiple platforms.


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