Popular Physics, Autumnal

Thursday, November 7, 2013 by Peter

My travel duties completed, my reports filed, my interview write-ups submitted, and the application deadline not yet passed, I found myself with some spare time this week.  I accepted an invitation to attend the annual Trebuchet Pumpkin Launch event at nearby Upland High School, replete with a bagpiper to celebrate the occasion. (They are the Highlanders.)

Some Trebuchet models were small and light. One could carry them by hand.

Treb 2

Others required a forklift, required significant carpentry and welding skills, to say nothing of the equipment needed.


Treb 4


Treb 3

It was fun to see the various designs and to hear about the various build processes with all sorts of trails and errors and feelings of accomplishment.  As I understand it, the event includes mere performance measures (launching the pumpkin forward somewhere), but also has contests for distance or for accuracy, among others.

trebuchet 1


Treb 6


(This was the actual launch. If you look very closely, you can see the ropes are taut.)
It can’t hurt that the three major TV news stations sent crews out to film this event. (I did not check to see if they actually ran with the story yet or left it on the editing room floor.)  But I do know that this event has made AP Physics a “hot” course at Upland High.  I salute David Geller, and his staff, and especially the students for their inspiration, toil, and dedication!
If your school has something remotely similar where accomplishment or fun in STEM is acknowledged at your school, feel welcome to tell me about it by sending an email to POsgood@hmc.edu

Posted in categories: Staff