3910336227_4d519fa49bWhen we heard that Berkeley scientists were doing something for Burning Man — you know, that eight-day hippie debauchery festival that stews beneath the hot Nevada sun — we were shocked and, honestly, a little disappointed. Weren’t there other, more productive things for them to be doing, like working at Lawrence Berkeley Lab on an awesomely fast network for research scientists or continuing efforts toward creating sound zombies?

To be fair, we might be a little bitter because we’re not going (eight days off and $300 can be hard to come by) or maybe we were just a little taken aback since the science lab and Burning Man are not necessarily a match made in heaven. Either way, someone had some ‘splaining to do.

Well, it turns out the project, although it isn’t the most noble of undertakings, is pretty darn cool. Artist and Burning Man vet Jim Bowers, along with his research team (which includes Berkeley scientists working independently of the Lab), are creating a massive, laser-driven clock. The clock, which will have a diameter of about one mile, will become the “world’s largest functioning timepiece, according to categories within the Guinness World Records.”

But, wait a second — will hippies and other Burning Man good-vibers even care about the time? Meh, either way, as long as this clock turns out better than the World’s Tallest Thermometer in Baker, California, we here at the Clog say go for it, Mr. Bowers. Make us proud!

Clarification: A previous version of this story may have implied that Jim Bowers’ team was sponsored by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, but this project is actually unaffiliated with the lab.

Image Source: Alison Faith under Creative Commons
Berkeley lab scientists helping to build the world’s largest clock for Burning Man festival [Mercury News]

Jim Bowers said:
Jul 31, 2011 at 6:15 pm

The 1MileClock project is NOT affiliated or in any way endorsed by Lawrence Berkeley Lab. Russell Wilcox and associate Marc Hertlein, both laser physicists at Berkeley labs are both volunteering their own time to design and build the laser apparatus that provides the “hands” of the clock. In other words, Russel and Marc (both brilliant scientists in their fields) are both participating in this endeavor “OFF THE CLOCK!”

Jim Bowers
Artist / Project Director

Jjohn D. wibberley said:
Aug 1, 2011 at 7:49 am

Artist and scientists come in all sizes and shapes…As one of the many artist on this project, it will be very COOL…John D, wibberley (WIBBA)

Diana Newby said:
Aug 1, 2011 at 9:00 am

Thank you, Mr. Bowers, for pointing out the error. The post has been edited and a clarification included accordingly.

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