The art and science of smashing pumpkins

The world would be a better place if we could all be more child-like, perhaps like the kids who waited patiently for a half hour today for the physics students at Boston University to throw pumpkins off a building.

Scroll ahead to 28:38 and enjoy the screams of pumpkiny delight.

It's that time again: the Boston University Physics Department annual Pumpkin Drop. Watch a bunch of pumpkins get chucked off a building. http://bit.ly/2yR0cbN

Posted by The Boston Globe on Friday, October 27, 2017

Students in the department have spent a couple of days scooping out the pumpkins and filling them with whipped cream and colored paint, insisting absurdly that it had something to do with getting kids interested in physics and the sciences.

It doesn’t, of course. It has to do with smashing pumpkins.

The pumpkins land on a canvas, which is then hung on a wall as a testament to the scientific fact that not everything has to be about something.

  • Gary F

    They should have invited David Letterman.

  • Al

    My brother and his wife are both physicists, and would disagree that this doesn’t get kids into physics.

    I mean, if I’d known at that age I could be part of a group that dropped crap off of buildings, made frozen-nitrogen ice cream, and all with a big lab to make it happen, I’d have signed up, too. And then probably gotten interested in physics as a result.

    Alas, I parked in the library instead of venturing outside, and became an English major instead.

    • jon

      My highschool physics class involved playing with hot wheels matchbox cars, lobbing honey dew melons across the feels behind the school, watching buckaroo banzai, and playing with lasers… Oh we also dropped strings with washers tied to them at certain intervals to make a beat, and raced runners/bicycles and cars to measure velocity and acceleration, and as I recall we had the local police send a car over so we could play with there radar gun… Not really sure why anymore maybe a dopelar effect lesson?

    • I take comfort in the fact you’re not throwing books off buildings.

      As for the purpose, I take my cue from the physics departments undergrad program director in the Boston Globe when asked for the purpose.

      “You know, it’s kind of become a BU tradition at this point,” she said of the drop. “We are just giving the people what they want.”

      But, yes, gravity is awesome and if it gets kids interested in the sciences, let’s not stop at pumpkins, I say.

      • Jack Ungerleider

        Based on the quote from program director I’d say, it doesn’t get kids into physics and other sciences, except those that go to BU so they can throw pumpkins off the top of a building.

    • Jack Ungerleider

      Take a small pumpkin, some LN2, and have the space for a nice vertical drop. Put the pumpkin in the LN2 for a few minutes (2-3 is probably enough). Using tongs or heavy gloves remove the pumpkin from the nitrogen and drop it a fair distance 5-6ft to a hard floor. It shatters like ceramic.

    • Jerry

      Billy Corgan is quickly turning into James Carville, isn’t he?