Potatoes Over South Park

  Potato launching is serious. Photo sourced from http://potato-spud-cannon-gun.blogspot.com

By Rhe Civitello

 

This past Saturday, Feb. 14, the snow banks of Skidmore’s South Park were pelted by an onslaught of Irish potatoes. Armed with sleek launchers made of PVC pipes, members of the Skidmore Space Cadets and Skid Builds met to observe the wonders of physics in action. “This is no huge science experiment, as much as it is a fun activity involving thermodynamics and classical mechanics,” explained Porter Hall ’16. The base of each apparatus was filled with hairspray, which—with the help of a barbecue sparker—caused combustion upon firing. One by one, students took careful aim at the frigid wasteland that is South Park. With a bang, the starchy missiles were sent hurtling through the air, covering an extraordinary distance at a startling speed. Hall attributes this powerful result to a chain of events involving the transfer of heat, mechanical work, and kinetic energy, working together “to create quite a boom.” Although cut short by an encounter with Campus Safety, the launch was an exciting event for all who attended.

Still in its beginning stages as a club, Skid Builds is currently under review by the Student Government Association. By forming the group, the founders of Skid Builds are seeking to cater to all those interested in exploring invention—science majors or not. So far, the club has organized a number of daring projects, including the construction of hovercraft. With SGA approval, Skid Builds hopes to take an active role in the Skidmore Community and beyond, possibly inviting local high schoolers to engage in their future projects.

Update 2/19/15: Skid Builds has been denied a charter by the SGA

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