Medical Barbies

PICTURE: Courtesy of Mattel

British coronavirus vaccine developer Sarah Gilbert has many science accolades to her credit but now shares an honour with Beyonce, Marilyn Monroe and Eleanor Roosevelt: a Barbie doll in her likeness.  Gilbert, a 59-year-old professor at Oxford University and co-developer of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, is one of six women in the COVID-19 fight who have new Barbies modelled after them as toy maker Mattel Inc is recognising them with a line of Barbie "role model" dolls. Gilbert's Barbie shares her long auburn hair and oversized black glasses, and she wears a sensible navy blue pantsuit and white blouse. "It's a very strange concept having a Barbie doll created in my likeness," Gilbert said in an interview for Mattel. "I hope it will be part of making it more normal for girls to think about careers in science." Others among the honorees are: emergency room nurse Amy O'Sullivan who treated the first COVID-19 patient at the Wycoff Hospital in Brooklyn, New York; Audrey Cruz, a frontline doctor in Las Vegas who fought discrimination; Chika Stacy Oriuwa, a Canadian psychiatry resident at the University of Toronto who battled systemic racism in healthcare; Brazilian biomedical researcher Jaqueline Goes de Jesus, who led sequencing of the genome of a COVID-19 variant in Brazil; and, Kirby White, an Australian doctor who pioneered a surgical gown that can be washed and reused by frontline workers during the pandemic. Gilbert chose non-profit organisation WISE (Women in Science & Engineering), dedicated to inspiring girls to consider a career in STEM, to receive a financial donation from the toy maker.  - With LISA GILES KEDDIE, Reuters.

It's a skill you're probably not going to roll-out everyday a truck driver in Europe has seen his social media post go viral after he posted a video of him backing up his truck to dunk a teabag in a glass of hot water. The "tea-bag challenge" reportedly originated in Finland and was recently taken up by Johan Groteboer, from Rijssen, Netherlands, who was reported as saying he was stunned when thousands of people left comments on his social media post. He's since had friend requests from people across the globe. Groteboer dismissed the idea that his feat was down to luck. “Not at all," he reportedly said. "It was pure talent.”

Not a bad find. Workers digging a well in the backyard of a house in Sri Lanka have unearthed what's been identified as the world's largest star sapphire cluster. The cluster, which was found in the gem-rich Ratnapura area, weighs around 510 kilograms or 2.5 million carats and has been named the "Serendipity Sapphire". It has reportedly been valued at up to $US100 million. "I have never seen such a large specimen before," Dr Gamini Zoysa, a renowned gemmologist told the BBC. "This was probably formed around 400 million years ago." Ratnapura, which means city of gems in Sinhalese, is known as the gem capital of the South Asian country.  

The picture on this story had been updated.