CLEVELAND (WJW) – Case Western Reserve University students continued the annual tradition of dropping pumpkins from a campus building to recreate a famous experiment.
Physics students released six pumpkins of various sizes from the roof of the Strosacker Auditorium to test Galileo’s Leaning Tower of Pisa experiment.
“Around 400 years ago, Galileo dropped different balls of different sizes,” Physics major Sash Iyer explained. “Essentially what he wanted to check is will different balls of different masses fall at different times.”
Physics Chair Corbin, who dressed as ‘Zoro’ for the event, says pumpkins are a perfect item for the experiment.
“Any two objects, even if they have different masses, they will accelerate down, which is to say they will fall at the same rate and therefore, if you release them at rest, neglecting air resistance, which is why you need something big and heavy like a pumpkin that can, they will land on the ground at the same time,” Corbin said.
The exercise is all about practical application, taking an equation and testing it in real life, but it’s also about having some fun.
“Normally we’re considered as the boring department that’s full of nerds,” Iyer said. “So, I think it’s cool to see such a big crowd coming up. I think that’s the best part about hosting such events.”
The experiment verified Galileo’s experiment, as the gourds collided with the ground at virtually the same time.
Several hundred fellow students who watched the experiment were rewarded with a slice of pumpkin pie and a cup of cider.
“It was a lot of fun,” Iyer said. “Like, especially setting it up and seeing everyone’s reactions. I had a lot of fun.”
For Corbin, nothing beats smashing a pumpkin on Halloween.
“Oh yeah, that’s fun too,” he said.