What’s the Temperature?

Thermometer Coliseum

For a couple of decades, visitors to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum reported consistent 70-degree readings on the stadium thermometer on USC game days.

“Alumni would make fun of the perfect ’70 degree’ reading for many years. It would be in the 90s or frigid, but they’d joke it was the ‘perfect weather’ for football,” said Rod Yates, senior lab technician at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.

But that reading wasn’t accurate. For what was rumored to be 20 years, Coliseum technicians adjusted the temperature manually on USC game days. Any fluctuations from that reading would fail to register, and by halftime, the reading was likely inaccurate.

In 2013, USC Viterbi School of Engineering seniors decided enough was enough. Enrolled in AME 441 – the senior projects lab for the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering – three teams of students competed to propose the best design for a new Coliseum thermometer. 

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