Egg drop contest at Vulcan makes science fun

Egg drop contest at Vulcan makes science fun
Students watch to see if an egg survives a 100-plus-foot fall inside an apparatus built for this year's egg drop contest organized by the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Engineering. (Dennis Washington/Alabama NewsCenter)

How do you drop an egg from a perch more than 100 feet high without breaking it?

Hundreds of students from around the Birmingham area put their theories to the test during an egg drop contest at Vulcan Park and Museum in Birmingham. The contest was organized by the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Engineering.

“It’s a lot of fun,” says Lizzie Ryan, a senior in mechanical engineering at UAB. “And then seeing the ones that actually make it, it’s super awesome.”

Egg drop contest blends fun and science from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Elementary, middle and high school students were asked to design devices that would protect a raw egg from breaking when dropped from the perch atop the Vulcan Park statue’s pedestal. Ryan said of the first five that dropped, four of them survived.

“They are screaming, ‘Drop it! drop it!’ for every egg. It’s a lot of fun.”

Zoë Penko, president of the UAB Society of Women Engineers, says the goal of the contest is to inspire students to consider science, engineering and mathematics as possible career options.

“Students will attempt to achieve what seems impossible — dropping raw eggs from the top of the Vulcan without breaking them,” said Penko, who is also president of the UAB American Society of Mechanical Engineers. “We want to encourage engineering education and inspiration in our next generation of engineers.”

If you want to compete in next year’s egg drop competition, Ryan has two pieces of advice.

“Start early and then just make it fun.”

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