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Physics Students Will Sponsor Pumpkin Drop on Oct. 28

What is the sound of a pumpkin plummeting to its demise from the top of a nine-story building? You can visit at the link below for a sample of smashing pumpkins. Or, for the live spectacle, you can attend the annual Old Dominion University Society of Physics Students Pumpkin Drop on Thursday, Oct. 28, beginning at 12:30 p.m.

For the event, teams of students design and build pumpkin catchers that are supposed to give the falling pumpkins a soft landing. Sometimes the catchers do their jobs, and other times the contraptions only make for larger splatters.

As befits a serious scientific investigation, physics students will conduct several experiments using the plummeting pumpkins. In addition to studying the effectiveness of different pumpkin catcher designs for harmlessly dissipating the pumpkins' kinetic energy, they also will insert a video camera in a pumpkin to provide a pumpkin's eye view of the fall and repeat Galileo's well-known gravitation experiment.

Prizes or extra credit will be awarded for the best pumpkin catchers.

For more information: http://www.lions.odu.edu/~lweinste/sps/PumpkinMono.mp3 

To participate in the pumpkin catcher contest, participants must contribute three 8-10 pound pumpkins by Monday, Oct. 25, and bring their catchers to the north lawn of Batten Arts and Letters Building by 11.30 on Oct. 28. More extensive rules are on the Department of Physics website under Pumpkin Drop. Queries can be sent to Artur Amaryan, president of the ODU Society of Physics Students, at aamar002@odu.edu.

This article was posted on: October 22, 2010

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