The event, to be held on the Johnstown campus, will be documented by the British Broadcasting Company for the Discovery Channel, and the "Guinness Book of World Records" has agreed provisionally to list the firewalk, according to Willey.
Willey uses the physics of firewalking in his classes and lectures to demonstrate the difference between temperature and heat. He also developed a physics demonstration program, "How Does a Thing Like That Work?" with funding by an Eisenhower Grant administered by the Pitt-Johnstown Mathematics and Science Center.
"To the best of my knowledge," Willey said, "the longest continuous firebed ever walked was a 120-foot-long bed, reportedly walked on Oct. 10, 1987, in Redmond, Washington.
"The intent of this firewalking event is to walk a 150-foot firebed. Data will be gathered on the length and temperature of each individual walk, using infrared and thermocouple pyrometers. Infrared photographs are also planned and the walk will be videotaped," Willey said.
Willey holds a bachelor's degree in applied physics from Aston University (UK) and a certificate in education from Birmingham University (UK). He earned a master's degree in physics at Ohio State University.
He joined the UPJ faculty in 1975, and received the 1990 Teacher of the Year Award for Natural Science. In addition to teaching, he has developed physics apparatus, written computer software, contributed to physics texts and co-produced a video on the physics of firewalking.
For additional information, call Willey at (814) 269-2021, or consult his firewalking website: http://www.pitt.edu/~dwilley/longwalk.html