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Gravity + Tall Building + Pumpkins + Cheesy Acting = Great outreach activity. Wait, is that even dimensionally correct? - Nov 1, 2004 at 11:13PM
Justin Avatar
Justin
Chico, CA
32 Posts

Heya folks, I just wanted to highlight one of our recent
chapter activities: The 17th Annual Pumpkin Drop. Held at
high noon on the Friday before Halloween, this event is
visited by college students and local school children alike.
Two of our majors dress up as Galileo and Aristotle and
debate the speeds of falling bodies. Pumpkins are used for
demonstration purposes, of course. It's a great way to get
kids excited about physics and everyone always has a great time.

Here are some details and photos:

http://phys.csuchico.edu/sps/activities/pumpkin_drop.html
http://phys.csuchico.edu/sps/activities/pumpkin_drop/PD2004/PD2004.html

(P.S. The local newspaper said that one of the pumpkins was
filled with 'smoke', but it was actually LN. Other fillings
during the event included water and whipped cream.)

For more information, feel free to e-mail our dedicated
chapter advisor, Dr. David Kagan - dkagan at csuchico dot edu


Replies to Gravity + Tall Building + Pumpkins + Cheesy Acting = Great outreach activity. Wait, is that even dimensionally correct?

Re: Gravity + Tall Building + Pumpkins + Cheesy Acting = Great outreach activity. Wait, is that even - Oct 20 2007 10:30AM
Christine P
6 Posts

so cool...so very cool.  I'm trying to think of a way to organize some sort of pumpkin drop for next week and your version is really great.  Someone else mentioned having people from the younger classes design catchers.  (Although I think people would be excited just throwing pumpkins off the roof of the physics building.)

Any ideas for how to make this into a fundraising venture?  And what sorts of permission did you need to get from your school to drop the pumpkins?  How bad was the cleanup?



Re: Gravity + Tall Building + Pumpkins + Cheesy Acting = Great outreach activity. Wait, is that even - Oct 26 2007 2:29PM
Kendra Redmond Avatar
Kendra Redmond
225 Posts

Next year you better break out a video camera!


SPS Program Coordinator & Assistant Editor American Institute of Physics


Re: Gravity + Tall Building + Pumpkins + Cheesy Acting = Great outreach activity. Wait, is that even dimensionally correct? - Nov 02 2007 1:29AM
QuantumDefect
1 Posts

Hello all,

          Just an update about this year's pumpkin drop. This of course was our 20th year of putting on this wonderful activity for the local community. This year was special as we were able to get the original two creators to drop the first pair of pumpkins. A local newspaper also created a video clip of this year's drop, which can be found here:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7891034634371435172&hl=en

Sadly with all media, the most important part, in this case the science, has been left out. For all those that don't know what we do, through dropping pumpkins, we demonstrate the history as well as the evolution of the Theory of Gravity. We start out with Aristotle's hypothesis of the layers of elements and have a "him", an actor, do experiments by way of pumpkins, showing how the evidence supports his claim. We then bring in Galileo, who shows the flaws in Aristotle's theory and demonstrates, again by way of falling pumpkins, why it is wrong. He then proposes his own theory, the Law of Falling Bodies and supports his hypothesis with another group of experiments(falling pumpkins again). Finally we bring in Newton and the same process begins. At the end, we synchronize the dropping of multiple pumpkins to the cannon blasts of the 1812 Overture. The whole activity is extremely fun and like Justin 1.0 says, its a great way to get kids excited about science.