Ah, fall! The signs of the season are all around us: the sounds of leaves rustling along the sidewalks, the smell of piping hot apple cider, and the sight of 12-pound pumpkins being hurled through the air at speeds upwards of 350mph. Yes—pumpkins!
Recently, we had an opportunity to participate in one pumpkin pastime that’s right up Wolfram|Alpha‘s alley. We’re not talking about pies here, we’re talking about the Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation’s CUPunkin’Chuckin’ Challenge! Punkin’Chuckin’ is the art of hurling pumpkins (or multiple pumpkins) great distances with smartly engineered, often homemade, devices such as trebuchets and catapults. In a typical Punkin’Chuckin’ competition, the goal is simple—to go the distance, or in this case, to hit a city bus.
This is one competition you have to see to believe.
Yes, we know what you’re thinking. We want to build our own, too!
You can tap into Wolfram|Alpha for a projectile formula that allows you to calculate scenarios for the distance traveled, maximum height, initial speed, and release angle of a projectile. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the distance and velocity these gourds can fly may be affected by environmental factors such as wind speed.
Click the image below to try it for yourself: