Watermelon Drop pretrials get underway at UC San Diego

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UCSD_studentsSAN DIEGO — The 49th annual watermelon drop, a pre-finals tradition at UC San Diego, is scheduled to take place Friday. The melon will be dropped from the top of the seven-floor campus building in an attempt to break the record splat of 167 feet, 4 inches, which was set in 1974.

The ritual started in 1965 when physics professor Bob Swanson asked in an exam: “What would be the terminal velocity of a watermelon dropped from the seventh floor of Urey Hall and how far would it splat?”

The first year’s debris scattered 91 feet, according to UCSD. It was determined the terminal velocity — the final speed of a moving object before it stops — of watermelon when it hits the ground is about 112 miles per hour.

Last year’s splat of 133 feet, 7 inches, was the second longest in the nearly half-century of the event. Revelle College, which organizes the event, also hosts a pageant to name
a “Watermelon Queen,” who gets to drop the melon.

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