ALS Scientist’s Burning Man Timepiece in Guinness Book of World Record’s

November 12, 2012

Last year ALS beam physicist Marcus Hertlein was part of a team of artists and scientists that built and activated a giant, surrealistic timepiece at the geographic center of Burning Man. From the top of a 45-foot clock tower, green laser beams like the hands of a clock tracked the hours, minutes, and seconds, shooting horizontally miles into the dust and darkness of the Nevada night. The project was submitted for entry in the Guinness Book of World Records, and it was recently accepted. “Building a sensitive laser and optics system for a very harsh environment and under huge time pressure on a very tight budget, was not an easy task,” says Hertlein. “It couldn’t have happened without the help of a few dedicated people, including Lab employees Russell Wilcox and John Pepper. The huge effort paid off though, it was an amazing sight and I’m glad I was able to be part of this.” Go here for more on Hertlein’s participation, and here for the Guinness Book of World Records listing for the clock.

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2 Responses to “ALS Scientist’s Burning Man Timepiece in Guinness Book of World Record’s”

  1. Marc Hertlein says:

    For those who are interested, here are links to two youtube videos that give an overview of the project:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtPXfgO2wmk
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l16Y5pKS-8w

    The video about Burning Man below has one nice sequence of the clock in action, at 5:22 into the video.
    http://vimeo.com/37149784

  2. Marc Hertlein says:

    A few more notes:

    Russell Wilcox from LBL Engineering should also get significant recognition; he was a big part of the project, and did an amazing job. He did all the conceptual design and layout for the entire laser system, and made sure the system would be hardy enough and have a chance to survive the harsh desert climate.
    Both Russell and I were members of the six-person core team for the project.

    Two additional people at LBL were crucial during the clock build, which I led: John Pepper (Engineering), who helped me with a lot of machining during the clock build. And Elaine DiMasi, who did a sabbatical at the Molecular Foundry at the time, manufactured several key elements of the assembly.

    And of course there were many other (non-LBL) people on the project, who all made it possible. Check the credits in the project videos for their names.

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