But besides practicing constitutional law, Grossman, who is gay, is a well-known airship historian and will appear on the Discovery Channel on Sunday, Dec. 16, in a program about the history of the doomed Hindenburg. The special isl titled, “Curiosity: What Destroyed the Hindenburg?” and airs at 9 p.m. ET.
“I won’t give away the specific technical conclusion, but the show does a wonderful job of explaining and illustrating how a spark was likely generated by a combination of atmospheric conditions and the inherent properties of the ship’s structure, and how that spark created the fire pattern that we have all seen on film,” he said in an email.
“In order to explore various theories about how the fire began and spread we built three models of the airship at 1/10-scale, inflated them with 200 cubic meters of hydrogen, and ignited them in various ways,” Grossman explained.
“The models were designed to replicate the ship’s major features; a framework of rings and girders with individual gas cells, ventilation shafts, and an open area around the keel. The models were designed for function rather than appearance; they were not especially pretty, but the important structural elements were realistic,” he said. “Although I have studied the Hindenburg for decades these experiment brought to life for me, in a vivid and dramatic way, various phenomena that had been purely theoretical before.”
Grossman added: “It was fascinating from a scientific and technical perspective, it gave me new insights into the minds of the zeppelin crews, and it was great to work with such wonderful people. But let’s be totally honest. I spent a week building giant models and then blowing them up. Now if that isn’t every boy’s idea of a damn good time, I don’t know what the hell is.”
Check out this video promo below:
Photo: Dan Grossman (far right) with presenter Jem Stansfield and explosives expert Steve Wolf. (Photo courtesy Discovery Channel)