Plenty of Bubble Wrap, maybe some foam padding and anything that can slow down the descent.
What didn’t work:
Bicycle helmets, a Kleenex box, anything heavy and, as 18-year-old Hannah Vandell found out during this year’s Design Collaborative Egg Drop Contest at Science Central, a cake full of pudding.
There was no saving that egg, the incoming IPFW freshman said.
The competition, which requires contestants to design a contraption that will protect an egg during a free fall from Science Central’s roof, was part of Fort Wayne Newspapers Three Rivers Festival.
The event brought together people of all ages looking to test their creations as well as their grasp on physics.
Vandell’s was one of the more unusual designs. Most people stuck to heavy padding and boxes.
But Vandell baked a cake, filled it with pudding and even decorated it with iconic images of Fort Wayne in the icing, including the Komets logo. She inserted the egg in the middle, hoping it would stay protected by the time it got to the ground.
I almost made it work last year, she said. That time I used shaving cream, though.
Vandell and a few dozen people watched as her cake plummeted through the air, hit the side of a tub on the ground and splattered, sending bits of frosting, pudding and egg everywhere.
It maybe had a chance if it didn’t hit the side (of the tub), Vandell said.
Egg drop competitions have probably been around since the egg itself and man’s curiosity with physics. Nearly every child who goes through school will encounter one at some point.
And for good reason, said Martin Fisher, the executive director for Science Central.
Children, in general, can learn science by using their hands to create or test things. Egg drop competitions allow them to create their own designs, to test those designs and make their own modifications.
Essentially, it gets them to become scientifically literate.
And it’s fun! Fisher added.
Fun, and not just for kids.
Gina Burgess, who is running for an at-large seat on Allen County Council, worked with a group to come up with a design to drop.
She and her collaborators put an egg in a plastic butter tub, wrapped that in foam and padding, encased that in two bicycle helmets and buried those in more padding before sealing them in a cardboard shipping box.
The result after the drop: One busted egg, one busted bicycle helmet.
Well, I guess this highlights helmet safety at least, she said jokingly.
Fisher’s 7-year-old daughter, Lauren, came up with a last-minute design, he said.
She kept the egg in part of an egg carton and just taped it up in padding and bubble tape.
I give it a 50-50 chance of surviving, he said right before her drop.
But to his family’s delight, the massive but light ball of Bubble Wrap and tape floated gently down the building, landing first on the an area over the entrance of the building and then, with barely a sound, onto the ground below.
And inside was one intact egg.