Fall Pumpkin Drop and Physics Carnival

Thursday, Oct 05, 2023
Smashed Pumpkins

Annual Pumpkin Drop and Physics Carnival a Smash!

October 2023

Enjoy a smashing good time at the Schmidt College of Science’s annual Pumpkin Drop and Physical Carnival! On Friday, Oct. 27, at 10:00 a.m., faculty members from the Department of Physics will drop pumpkins off the roof of the four-story, SE-43 building to demonstrate some the world’s most important and famous physics experiments, such as constant acceleration of gravity, terminal velocity, and Newton’s laws.

A special guest, the Pumpkin Master, will appear to explain the theories behind these principles to approximately 150 students from A.D. Henderson University School and Grandview Preparatory School, along with Florida Atlantic University faculty, staff and students who come out to see pumpkins fall from the sky.

Pumpkin Drop 2023

“We consider this an opportunity to showcase that physics can be fun, and that it doesn’t always have to be serious stuff. And of course, what’s more fundamental than the laws of motion?” said Luc Wille, Ph.D., Chair and Professor, Department of Physics.

At 10:30 a.m., head over to the Physics Carnival, positioned right around the corner from the Pumpkin Drop activities. The fun festivities include game booths, face painting, hair spraying, hands-on physics demonstration tables, and much more.

The annual event is hosted by the Department of Physics and the Society of Physics Students. Everyone in the Department of Physics participates, from faculty and staff members, to postdocs, graduate and undergraduate physics majors.

The idea for a pumpkin drop originated back in 2007, when Melissa Troshinsky, then Coordinator for Academic Support Services, now Assistant Director for Academic Support Services, was perusing the American Physical Society (APS) website. She saw that they profiled Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and its annual Pumpkin Drop event, where they would drop pumpkins from the rooftop of one of their buildings. Troshinsky thought, “If MIT can do this, we could do this here at FAU, too. It would be interesting, and it would give people a new perspective on physics – that it can be fun!” 

She bounced the idea off then Department of Physics Chair Warner Miller, Ph.D., who still teaches and researches physics at Florida Atlantic. He gave Troshinsky the green light, and she enlisted the help of Eric Vandernoot, Astronomy and Physics Lab Coordinator, along with some other department members. After the first few Pumpkin Drops, she decided that it was a shame to have the Henderson students come over only for a short while, so Troshinsky added demonstrations, and the event grew bigger and bigger each year. The FAU President became involved over the years, and when available, is invited to drop the first pumpkin to kick off the event.

Join the fun!  Find event details here.

Pumpkin Drop: 10 to 10:30 a.m.

Carnival: 10:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

SE-43 Building South and West lawns, Boca Raton Campus

Additional Information
The Charles E. Schmidt College of Science offers unparalleled experiential learning opportunities to prepare the next generation of scientists and problem solvers.
Charles E. Schmidt College of Science
Florida Atlantic University
777 Glades Rd, SE-43
Boca Raton, FL 33431
Fax: (561) 297-3292