California State University, Fullerton

News Categories

CSUF News Service

Pumpkin Launch Nov. 2 Offers Family Fun

Community Event Features Flying Gourds, Engineering Activities for Children

Oct. 16, 2013

Cal State Fullerton will host the sixth annual Pumpkin Launch from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2. Visitors of all ages are invited to attend the free event — rain or shine — on the athletics fields north of Titan Gym.

The event featuring a variety of family-friendly activities is a partnership between CSUF's College of Engineering and Computer Science and the Discovery Science Center.

Engineering enthusiasts can watch various homemade trebuchets launch pumpkins through the air during the competition. Like in past years, competitors include several teams of CSUF engineering and physics students. To see the 2012 event, watch the video.

For a more hands-on lesson on projectiles, youngsters are invited to build their own mini catapults with Popsicle sticks and launch marshmallows. Other activities include pop-rocket building and a whiffle ball catapult station. Plus, a medieval showcase will present costumes, weapons, weaving materials and other replicated artifacts from the medieval ages.

"The goal of Pumpkin Launch is multifaceted," states Joe Adams, president of the Discovery Science Center. "It provides young people the opportunity to visit a university campus, interact with student engineers and consider an academic and lifelong career in a STEM-related field, all while watching fruit fly through the air!"

This event is designed to give adolescents the opportunity to see what a college campus is like and to introduce them to academics in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) related-industries. Attendees can learn about the science of flying pumpkins and other objects in a creative and interactive way.

"Launching a pumpkin and hitting a target is not a trivial engineering problem," said Raman M. Unnikrishnan, dean of CSUF's College of Engineering and Computer Science. "It requires a lot of analysis of the trajectory of the launch, including predicting the point of impaction.

"Secondly, one has to design the equipment, such as a trebuchet, to launch the pumpkin and then build the device. Design, implementation and, finally, the execution of a complex task are the fundamental elements of any engineering design project, and the Pumpkin Launch is no different," Unnikrishnan added.

Sponsors include Time Warner Cable, ScholarShare and Orange County Produce. A family business practicing both conventional and certified organic farming, Orange County Produce is providing the pumpkins used for the launch competition. Time Warner Cable is sponsoring the program as part of the company's "Connect A Million Minds initiative," a five-year, $100 million commitment to inspire the next generation of problem-solvers by connecting young people to the wonder of STEM.

Cal State Fullerton is located at 800 N. State College Blvd., Fullerton, 92831. Parking is free on Saturdays. Campus   map and directions are available online.

Media Contacts:

Debra Cano Ramos, 657-278-4027,

Dan Nasitka, Discovery Science Center, 714-913-5018,

Tags:  CommunityEvents