How many engineering students does it take to drop a light bulb?

Several, if you want to make sure it does not break

How do you keep a falling light bulb from landing with a smash? That question was answered anew, often ingeniously, at the annual Engineers Week Light Bulb Drop sponsored by the Women in Science and Engineering Roundtable (WISER).

The Feb. 22 competition at the Kelvin Smith Library tested the skill and cleverness of competitors as they strived to protect a light bulb falling from ever-higher heights using only the materials provided. The challenge attracted dozens of engineering and science students. They formed several teams of two to five people each to compete for cash prizes and modest acclaim.

Each team was handed a paper bag containing construction paper, rubber bands, paper clips, Gummy Bears and straws. They had 45 minutes to design and build a contraption that would protect their light bulb as it fell from perilous heights inside the library onto a bed of rocks.

One team balled up construction paper to cushion the bulb inside the bag. Another fashioned a protective cloak with rubber bands and Gummy Bears. The winning team designed a parachute that feathered the bulb safely down through a three-story fall.

These photos capture some of the intensity, thrill and fun of a Light Bulb Drop at CWRU.