On Halloween, from 2-5 p.m., the Colorado Mesa University Society of Physics Students will be hosting their annual pumpkin drop. It’s a 12-year tradition, enjoyed by college students and young children alike.
For the past three years, SPS has borrowed a 60-foot crane and dropped a number of pumpkins from the top. Before the Tomlinson Library remodel, the pumpkins were dropped from the top of the old library.
This year, there will be around 25-30 pumpkins, according to SPS member Bret Brouse.
“We invite the Little Mavs and the Little Lambs over to watch it,” Brouse said. Brouse explained that while most of the pumpkins are poor quality, the first one is generally a store-bought one that’s hollowed out and filled with candy for the children.
Brouse said the event normally draws well over 50 people. The kids especially enjoy it according to Brouse. Of course, there are physics in the works behind dropping pumpkins from 60 feet, but SPS doesn’t go into a lot of detail about the science at this particular event.
“Obviously, there’s physics behind it because it’s accelerating into the earth,” Brouse said. Brouse explained that even though there is a science application, the pumpkin drop is more of a way to show that physicists have fun as well.
The pumpkin drop involves more than pumpkins being dropped from a crane. Despite the title of the event, there are other small showcases as well, including a liquid nitrogen canon and a “bed of nails” demonstration.
Since it takes time for SPS to get pumpkins up to the top of the crane, these showcases are supposed to act as not only miniature, educational intermissions, but also as ways to keep the event moving at an exciting pace, especially for the children present.
The pumpkin drop is designed to serve as a special holiday treat for all who want to come by and watch in their spare time. Interested students can observe the tradition by looking for the crane during the three hours allotted for the event.