Story STEM

Smashing Pumpkins: When Gourds Meet the Ground




Students from local elementary schools visit CSU Chico for the annual Pumpkin Drop event. Photo courtesy of CSU Fullerton


Today marks the 29th time that physics students at California State University, Chico will use pumpkins to make a point.

It's CSU Chico's annual Pumpkin Drop, a popular event that brings together campus community members and local schoolchildren for a theatrical reenactment of Galileo Galilei's famous Leaning Tower of Pisa experiment.

Legend has it that Galileo climbed the Tower of Pisa to simultaneously drop two balls of different sizes to show that each would hit the ground at the same time.

In the spirit of Halloween, Chico students now dress up as the famous scientists Galileo, Einstein, Aristotle, and Newton, each discussing their own theories on gravity. Physics students then demonstrate the Law of Falling Bodies by dropping pumpkins from five stories high.

The event is not only a tradition at CSU Chico, but also an important opportunity to teach physics to young students.

Click below to see a photo from the 2015 Pumpkin Drop at CSU Chico:

Community; Education