September 01, 2012, 7:55 AM — I remember a time when paper maché volcanos were the coolest things ever. Those days are gone now. As spotted by Geekosystem, two faculty members at Syracuse University made the decision to craft actual, homebrew molten rock and put all science fair projects to shame.
I'm not kidding.
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This is probably the closest most of us will ever come to real-life lava without, you know, entering the proximity of an active volcano. Helmed by art professor Bob Wysocki and geologist Jeff Karson, the Syracuse University Lava Project makes use of commercially-available crushed basalt gravel and a natural, gas-fueled tilt furnace that has been heated to 1,200 degrees celcius. The result? Approximately 800 pounds of molten basalt.
The project began innocently enough: In the beginning, it started with relatively small lava flows. Financial support then began to trickle in. From there, the crew moved on to 200 pounds of lava, and then to 800 pounds of pure, molten awesome.
What do you do when you have the ability to make something this, er, cool? You stage public demonstrations, of course. Instead of simply keeping it to themselves, the good people behind the Syracuse University Lava Project have been holding live shows in the parking lot of Syracuse University's Comstock Art Building.
If that doesn't ignite a love for science, I don't know what will.