Friday, December 9, 2011

The Geekiest Christmas Ornament

Each year when the Christmas season rolls around, amid all the decoration and festivities, the Physics and 3-2 Engineering department at Gordon is there to remind us that nothing says "holiday cheer" quite like Star Wars.

Students from Dr. Lee's Intro to Engineering class gathered in the engineering lab yesterday for this year's annual "Geekiest Christmas Ornament" contest. Contestants followed some simple guidelines, as described by Dr. Lee:

- The ornament proper must fit within a 6” x 6” x 6” box
- The ornament proper can weigh no more than 1 kg (about 2.2 lbs)
- It cannot be dangerous (projecting marshmallows is fine but projecting marbles is not, for example)
- It needs to do something
- The descriptor 'geeky' can be interpreted in a number of ways: Mechanisms and motors and lights cobbled together is 'geeky'; Star Wars (as a theme) is also 'geeky'; etc...

With rules in place, students set out in their esoteric efforts, stringing up everything from planets to (what appeared to be) Da Vinci's helicopter hovering above a Christmas tree. Awards in several other categories were also granted by faculty judges: "Most Clever Design," "Most Aesthetically Pleasing," and "Best Extemporaneous Allegorical Exegesis," to name a few.

But there could be only one winner of the grand prize. This year's "Geekiest Christmas Ornament" was built by Ben Stewart '14. "The ornament was made up of a single truncated icosahedron (which the creator said was a single 'unit cell' of a quasicrystal) with four hanging tassels with Nobel Prize medals on their ends," explained Lee, "It spun around using a small motor and LEDs were positioned at the vertices of the icosahedron." And the reward for his hard work:

A chocolate bar in the shape of Han Solo, trapped in carbonite.

See all the pictures from this year's contest HERE.

Photo: Ben Stewart '14 with his first-place ornament.

1 comment:

Patricia said...

One of my favorite events at Gordon! Great post, John.