Day of the Dead

Over 350 people attended the event. From the 280 who signed in, we found 7 physics professors, 19 physics students, 66 who identified as UCLA students, 7 from the Art Deptartment, 32 8th grade physical science students from Paul Revere, 22 honor students and 8 parents and teachers from Cals Early College High School, 5 other high schoolers, 10 other middle schoolers, 5 elementary schoolers, 6 from the Boy Scouts and 6 from the Cub scouts. The rest were from other universities or undetermined.

John and Craig smooth the bed of coals.

David measures the temperature with an infrared thermometer that goes up to 900 degrees F. It went up off the scale, above 900 degrees. It was hot.

After walking across the coals, Walter explains the physics behind it.

Pierre walks across the coals.

Marvin walks across the coals into the pan of water at the end.

The audience is astounded at the foolishness they see.

One of Harry's two handmade fire barrels.

11 people walked across the coals and survived with minor burns. Some audience members wanted to walk and were disappointed to learn that only faculty and staff could walk.

How can you walk across hot coals?

Fights almost broke out over Pluto.

Shadows on the phosphorescent wall. People also enjoyed writing on the wall with LED's. They quickly found that the red and green LED's didn't work for writing. They needed to excite the phosphor with a blue LED, higher in frequency than the green phosphor emission.

Total internal reflection in various plastic light pipes.

Laser light inside a water stream, showing total internal reflection.

Water stream with light bouncing inside hits a hand.

The light portal was really a 3-Dimensional illusion. You can only get some idea of what it was like to walk through it from this 2-D picture.

Black light tent.

A stereo viewer sculpture by Franklin Londin held 3-D images of Tesla coils and skulls.

Art wears electroluminescent (el) wire. El spider.

Sodium Light.

More images and video to come. If you have good images or video, please send them or contact me at msimon at

Day of the Dead 3-D Teslathon

Friday November 2, 2007 6:30 -- 9 pm

UCLA Knudsen Hall Outdoor Patio 2-222

Light sabers, costumes, day glo, light art encouraged

Complete Schedule of Events

  • 4:30 pm Graduate Student Social outside on PAB 3rd Floor patio
  • 5:00 pm, 6:30 pm, 8 pm "The Life of Tesla" and Tesla Theater, with our large Tesla Coil and 90 minute video about Nikola Tesla. The SI unit of magnetic flux density is called the tesla, to honor the contributions of Nikola Tesla, among them the first x-ray picture, radio, the tuned transmitters and receivers still used today, the radio telescope, remote control, wireless communication, RADAR, AC motors and generators, the electrical system we still use today.
    Location: Kinsey Pavilion 1-220 (Outside Entrance)
  • 6:30 pm or so-- The illusion portal to the outdoor patio will open when darkness falls. Don't miss the Society of Physics Students altar to our scientific ancestors, the magnetically controlled photonic crystal, Meteor Man in 3-D, the Perfectly-Safe Human Electroshock Machine.
    Location: 2nd Floor Kinsey Hall 2-222
  • 7:30, 8:00, 8:30 pm Start of 3-D shows in the Visualization Portal, Math Sciences. See a show on the current use of 3-D in the NASA solar STEREO mission. A second show will transport you to a reconstruction of the Roman Coliseum, the Temple Mount, and a virtual reality tour of the UCLA campus.
    9:00 pm 3-D slideshow, Art in the Black Rock Desert
    Location: 5th Floor (Ground Level) Math Sciences Building 5-308 Visualization Portal


The best parking lot is Lot 2 at Hilgard and Westholme. Parking in the lot costs $8. There are new metered spaces in Lot 2. There is metered parking along Charles Young Dr. near the parking kiosk at $0.25 per 15 minutes with a 2 hour max. Bring quarters.


Here is a clickable map. Click on Knudsen Hall or inverted fountain. There will probably be signs pointing the way.

Here is a printable map

Here is a printable POSTER

How can you walk across hot coals?