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News Release

E-Games 2009 Highlight 'Coolness' of Engineering

Jacobs School of Engineering students kicked off E Games by dropping tomatoes from a helium-filled balloon floating 50 feet in the air.

San Diego, CA, February 18, 2009 -- During a mix of rain and sunshine, Jacobs School of Engineering students took the University of California, San Diego by storm Tuesday, February 17 during E-Games 2009. The purpose of E-Games – which included a tomato drop from a helium filled balloon, and a rocket launch– was to show that engineering is a creative and fun field. The games also gave engineering students a chance to work in teams and make new friends.

During the popular tomato drop contest, students used everything from paper plates to duct tape, cotton balls, foam and other household items to build a structure that would best protect a tomato during a drop from a helium-filled balloon floating high in the air. The purpose of this contest was to see which team can best protect its tomato from splattering all over the ground. The puddles of rain water on the tomato landing pad added a dramatic boost to the sound of splattering tomatoes after a 50-foot free fall.

Maria Cardona, an undergraduate chemical engineering student, was pretty happy with her team’s performance. “One of our balloons popped and our tomato cracked but we survived,” Cardona said. “I always look forward to E Week. It shows that engineering is not just books, but that it’s also fun and that you can make good friends.”

Tomatoes, of course, were not the only E-Games food group. Baking soda, vinegar and Oreo cookies also played important roles at E-Games 2009. The baking soda and vinegar provided the propulsion for home-made rockets made of plastic bottles, which were shot into the air during a rocket launch competition. The Oreos? For tower making, of course. The most successful cookie towers used cream filling as cement.

Kevin Crossan, a freshman computer engineering student, helped his team build a rocket using a plastic water bottle, parts of a plastic Coke bottle to make fins, and the tip of a paper party hat. “We get extra points for having these taped on here and if they survive,” Crossan said, pointing to colorful plastic Army men that were taped to the side of the homemade rocket.

“We’re not aerospace engineers but this gives us a chance to learn a new skill and it’s fun to get out have some fun with friends,” he added. “It shows there is a fun aspect to engineering."

jessica lin
Jessica Lin (right) a UC San Diego bioengineering student, accepted the coveted Golden Calculator for her winning team during E-Games.

When all the games finished, the Innovative Design and Engineering Applications (IDEA) team earned the most points and won possession of the coveted Golden Calculator. IDEA president Jessica Lin and the rest of the team will be in charge of polishing the trophy for the next 12 months. IDEA’s team roster includes Jon Angle, Evan Coons, Steve Gorski, Jessica Lin, Nicholas Nolta, Jason Okada, Asia Ozor, Noah Paulgin, Brian Preedanon, Dustin Tobey, Robert J. Turner, Robert P. Turner and Eric Van Esselstyn. Jessica Lin, a fourth year bioengineering student, commented, “E Games is a good way to apply what we’re learning in class to something that’s hands on. And it’s fun.”

Meanwhile, members of the Phi Sigma Rho team that built the tallest Oreo tower, were basking in their success. “That’s what happens when females are in engineering…they win!” joked Catlin Peck, a third year electrical engineering major, who was on the Phi Sigma Rho team. Phi Sigma Rho is a science and engineering social sorority that works closely with the Triton Engineering Student Council (TESC) and does a lot of community outreach, including playing a key role in another Engineers Week event, ENSPIRE,a student-run outreach event designed to introduce middle school students to university-led engineering.

Michael Germeraad (right), a UC San Diego structural engineering student, chose a Dr. Seuss sustainability theme for his E-Games team.
The students from the UC San Diego chapter of The Society of Civil and Structural Engineers (SCSE) chose a Dr. Seuss theme for their E-Games team. Michael Germeraad turned a phone book into a Truffula Tree, the natural resource that the Lorax protects in Dr. Seuss’ book The Lorax, which Germeraad considers a metaphor for sustainability. Germeraad held his Truffula Tree while his team’s rocket launched across Warren Mall. The team added 5 coins to the top of their rocket in an attempt to keep the structure balanced.

The E Games are part of UC San Diego’s celebration of National Engineers Week. The drive behind Engineers Week is to call attention to the challenges that our world faces that need immediate engineering solutions.




Media Contacts

Daniel Kane
Jacobs School of Engineering

Andrea Siedsma
Jacobs School of Engineering