Tucked away in the basement of the Frazier Upper School, there was once a piece of equipment that would be more at home in a Gothic castle: a homemade bed of nails. This isn’t standard equipment for most high schools, but the bed of nails belonged to someone who wasn’t a standard teacher.
Bruce Jones, who retired in 2003 after 37 years of service to KCD, is remembered by his physics students as a teacher willing to go the extra mile to create a memorable lesson. Sometimes those lessons included his famous bed of nails, which he pulled out every few years to give his students a physics demonstration they would never forget.
Bruce would lie down sandwiched between two beds of nails with a cinder block on top. When he was ready, his friend and colleague Lee Meriwether would swing a sledgehammer, shattering the cinder block but leaving Bruce unscathed. As he got up, brushing the shards of concrete off his shirt, Bruce would explain the principles of force and pressure that had just been displayed so dramatically.
The last time I saw Bruce do this demonstration, someone asked him if he ever got scared that something would go wrong. “No,” he said, shaking his head. “My faith is in the physics.”