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UCSD holds 50th annual watermelon drop

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LA JOLLA, Calif. — The 50th anniversary of the traditional end of the academic year watermelon drop at UC San Diego took place Friday, causing very little splatter once it hit the ground.

The melon that was dropped off a top balcony of seven-story Urey Hall spread debris for only 63 feet, 10 inches, far off the all-time record of 167 feet, 4 inches set in 1974.

The ritual began in 1965 when a physics professor asked students the terminal velocity of a falling watermelon, and how far it would splat.

The terminal velocity — the highest speed attained by an accelerating object — turned out to be 112 mph, but the splatter measurement has varied widely.

The first time, pieces of watermelon scattered 91 feet. Last year, the distance was only 49 feet, 6 inches.

Students at UCSD’s Revelle College each year select a Watermelon Queen, who gets to drop the fruit. This time, it was Sabrina Gonzalez, a freshman ecology major.

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