On October 30, 2011 pumpkins will be flying! The University of Arizona, with support from the Physics Factory, will be launching Tucson's first annual Pumpkin Toss competition on the University of Arizona mall. Teams are being invited to build catapults capable of throwing 4 pound pumpkins, for maximum distance and maximum destructive accuracy against a simulated brick wall.
The competition is intented to inspire interest in science as well as ingenuity in addressing complex engineering challenges.
Teams from high schools, colleges or non-academic organizations are challenged to build one catapult (a trebuchet or onager). Each team will get two distance attempts, with points being awarded for their best ratio of distance over catapult mass. Two shots to knock down a wall constructed of cardboard boxes and placed at a distance of their choosing will comprise the contest challenge. Points are awarded for distance multiplied by the number of boxes knocked off of their foundation. No weight restrictions exist, but total catapult mass is used to modify distance scores exceeding 100m. Contestants must also be able to move their devices to and from firing positions due to the limited size of the U of A mall.
Distance and accuracy scores are combined to produce an overall winner. Scores in these two categories will be equally weighted for this purpose. Prizes will include trophies, awards and bragging rights, of course. Separate prizes will be awarded for best costumes, pumpkin carving and overall presentation as chosen by the audience.
Competition Categories are as follows: Trebuchets are defined as machines that are powered strictly by the release of energy from a dropping counterweight mass (or masses). Onagers are defined as machines that derive their power from the mechanical deformation of ropes, springs etc.
Fee for participation is $50, and the deadline for entering the competition is September 30, 2011.
The Tucson Pumpkin Toss is sponsored by The Physics Factory, University of Arizona, Raytheon, MESA (Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement) and Buckelew Farms.