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May 20, 2004


By Jan Jennings

EVENT: 39th Annual Watermelon Drop at University of California, San Diego

The Revelle College tradition marks the end of the school year at UCSD. (Revelle graduation is June 13.) Amidst much fanfare, a “Watermelon Queen” chosen by the students will toss the watermelon from the top (7th floor) of Urey Hall – to the countdown by the crowd below. The goal is to break velocity/splat records. Hundreds of UCSD students gather to witness this annual ritual and students try to predict where the farthest piece will land.

DATE/TIME: 12:05 p.m., Friday, June 4, 2004

LOCATION: Optimal viewing is from the sidewalk in front of Urey Hall, Revelle Campus.

BACKGROUND: The Watermelon Drop (or splat or toss) originated with UCSD’s first undergraduate class in 1965. All Revelle freshmen took a physics class with professor Bob Swanson. As a physics problem, Swanson asked: “If a watermelon was dropped from a 7-story building, where would the farthest piece land?” and “What would be the velocity on impact of the watermelon?” Members of the class arranged the actual watermelon drop from Urey Hall, voted for a “Watermelon Queen” and the drop has been an annual challenge each year.

The best official record for the splat is 167 feet 4 inches set in 1974. Swanson again will be observing the drop.

Media Contact: Jan Jennings (858) 822-1684


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