The lava lamp has been a mainstay of tacky dorm rooms for decades and this year marks its 50th birthday. Mathmos, the original company that developed the groovy nightstand piece, is celebrating the milestone next month with a massive 200-liter lamp installation at London's Royal Festival Hall. Lava lamps made their first official TV appearance on the original version of Doctor Who, and eventually joined Richard Pryor on the set of Superman III. Since then, they have been associated with the hippie counterculture nearly as much as Volkswagen vans and daisies. BBC News offers a deep look at the history of the lava lamp and just how exactly they are produced, so it's worth a read before you head out to see the one of the largest lamps ever built.