Wednesday, October 7, 2009


IIT (Illinois Institute of Technology) will be hosting the 5th Annual Pumpkin Launch in late October. The contest is open enrollment to all MENSA-level, brainiac students.  So what is a Pumpkin Launch? Simple. The person or team that launches the pumpkin the furthest, wins. Of course, that’s the end result. How you achieve that goal is where the “mad genius” part comes in. For your machine to qualify it must satisfy 24 guidelines. Out of which I understood about 9 of them enough to offer a coherent written explanation (without letting my 75 grade average in Physics reveal itself).  So without further adieu, here they are (in no ranking order)…

9- Students can only build this machine. No help from teachers, town folk or Stephen Hawking.

8- No chemical propulsion is allowed. I assume that means using something like liquid nitrogen, the chemical that propels spray cheese.

7- Devise needs to be trigger from behind a safety barrier. Self explanatory.

6- Pumpkins must weigh in at a svelte 4 – 6 kg.

5- You only get 5 minutes to set the machine up.

4- No fire of any kind can be used.

3-No explosives.

2-No pressured devices, except springs (not sure what other pressure there is other than the kind older parents provide.)

and #1  No gasoline.

Last year’s 2008 winner went to Team Big Bertha. The winning distance – 284ft. 

Check out the highlights from one of the previous tournaments.

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