Barbecue Wings
March 7, 2001 10:57 AM   Subscribe

Barbecue Wings A £900,000 mirror sculpture destined for a square in Nottingham, UK, will have to be shielded to prevent it focusing the Sun's rays and barbecuing passing birds. Anish Kapoor's highly polished concave steel mirror is six metres in diameter. Direct sunlight hitting the mirror would be focused into a narrow beam of light as hot as the surface of the Sun, says astronomer Michael Merrifield of Nottingham University.
posted by zeoslap (15 comments total)
Killer that's art!
posted by tregoweth at 11:04 AM on March 7, 2001

as hot as the surface of the Sun?

i have a hard time believing that.

but even so, couldn't there be a practical use for that much heat?
posted by o2b at 11:27 AM on March 7, 2001

I'm sure there's some cad trying to figure out how to aim it at the French.
posted by mikewas at 11:57 AM on March 7, 2001

I have a hard time believing that somebody designed something that accidentally has the side effect of generating a very, very hot beam of light, and didn't foresee the consequences.
posted by swell at 12:02 PM on March 7, 2001

Sounds like something out of a Bond Q Branch doing field testing?
posted by RakDaddy at 12:07 PM on March 7, 2001

I'm speaking from experience when I say this: Most artists aren't generally physicists, so I'm not suprised he didn't forsee the consequences. Then again, I thought everyone did that little experiment in third grade with the tinfoil and the hot-dog...
posted by boylog at 12:18 PM on March 7, 2001

they should hold an event where people get to fling stuff into it's fiery beam, with judges scoring the ensuing fireball for artistic merit, y'know to promote um art ;)

posted by zeoslap at 12:29 PM on March 7, 2001

Hahaha...this is the funniest thing that I've heard in a while. I actually have a cigarette lighter that's a 4 inch concave mirror with a clip at the focus to place the tip of the cigarette on, and they do light right up. I cannot imagine what would happen if it were 6 meters in diameter! I would think that the birds would explode...
posted by Sal Amander at 12:43 PM on March 7, 2001

I second Zeoslap!
posted by Su at 1:13 PM on March 7, 2001

The surface temperature of the Sun is only 6000K, so its very likely the description is apt.

Plus, this technique has been used for industrial purposes such as smelting metals; a surface area of 6m in diameter is over 28m^2 focussed into a small area; that's a lot of sunlight !
posted by dragonmage at 1:31 PM on March 7, 2001

What, Dragonmage, no website? That comment had me ready to visit.
posted by mblandi at 3:17 PM on March 7, 2001

Focusing the sun's rays with a mirror is almost as much fun as using a giant Fresnel lens. Those suckers make fun toys. (Fresnel originally developed his lens for use in lighthouses.)
posted by Potsy at 6:47 PM on March 7, 2001

It'd take two months to get that one day of sun in Nottingham sufficient to fry an ant, much less a bird.
posted by Mo Nickels at 1:05 AM on March 8, 2001

I think they've found the perfect solution to the Trafalgar Square pigeon problem.
posted by MarkC at 3:34 AM on March 8, 2001

This begs the question-- What was Nottingham's government thinking, when they approved this? Can people really design any dangerous construct and call it art? It sounds like more of an eyesore to me.

Unless they do authorize zeoslap's flinging contest, in which case it's absolutely brilliant.
posted by Loudmax at 3:35 AM on March 8, 2001

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