Saturday, November 03, 2007

The Science of Walking on Fire

By Matt Nisbet
Generation SXeptic

David Willey is not your ordinary science teacher. To put it mildly, he goes to extremes. Willey, an instructor of Physics at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, walks across hot coals, sinks his hand in molten lead, strides across broken glass, and has concrete blocks smashed across his body while lying on a bed of nails.

Each daring feat is a demonstration in science that Willey performs at venues ranging from college classrooms to NBC's Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

When I heard that Willey was scheduled to perform and lecture at the Center for Inquiry-International in Buffalo, New York, headquarters to the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), and Skeptical Inquirer magazine, I was compelled to investigate.

On a Saturday afternoon in mid-September, I drove in from Ithaca, New York, to meet and interview Willey just before he began preparations for the evening's firewalk and demonstrations.


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