Items Fall 100 Feet, Explode at the Third Annual Big Drop


On May 9, crowds gathered outside Exley Science Center for the third annual Big Drop.

On May 9, crowds gathered outside Exley Science Center for the third annual Big Drop. A series of smashable items—including water balloons, bouncy balls, watermelon, apples, pineapple, discarded computer equipment, plastic, and Oobleck—were dropped from the building’s rooftop.

The audience counted down 3-2-1 before dozens of water balloons fell eight stories to the ground.

At approximately 100 feet tall, Exley Science Center is the tallest building on campus.

A plastic water bottle splits on impact.

A discarded inkjet all-in-one printer/fax machine smashes into hundreds of fragments. At left is the top of a scanner, in the center is the scanner, and floating at right is the paper tray for the printer.

A printer, still filled with color ink toner, explodes when it strikes the ground.

The event was hosted by the Wesleyan Mathematics and Science Scholars (WesMaSS) and the Free Radicals (the chemistry majors' group). Pictured is graduate student Corey Phillips ’17.

The event was hosted by the Wesleyan Mathematics and Science Scholars (WesMaSS) and the Free Radicals (the chemistry majors’ group). Pictured is graduate student Corey Phillips ’17.

McNair Fellow Melisa Olgun ’20 and Miguel Madrid ’21 emceed the event. Olgun, who is affiliated with WesMaSS and is the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Division coalition intern, said the Big Drop serves as a collaborative project between the first and second years of WesMaSS, as both classes work together to coordinate the droppable items. “The Big Drop brings the Wesleyan community together to celebrate the end of the semester by bringing over the fun and exciting visual parts of the sciences,” she said. “It’s a great way to cathartically release stress with impending finals. The Big Drop is a tradition that marks the last day of classes with a big bang—literally.”

Giselle Reyes ’18 lights nitrocellulose—or gun cotton—which is extremely flammable. The Free Radicals hosted a series of pyrotechnic demonstrations during the Big Drop.

The audience reacts while watching a watermelon splat outside Exley Science Center.

Victoria Yu ’19 and Shelley Duong ’19 burn an organic lab report in liquid oxygen while celebrating the last day of classes. (Photos by Olivia Drake)