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43rd Annual Peter Vogel Physics Balsa Bridge Building Contest

Helmets? Check. Goggles? Check. Weights, metal garbage pail, spray bottle, and a pitcher of sand? Check, check, check, and check.


This is no construction zone. For 43 years, Notre Dame has held a balsa bridge building competition. Some bridges are fanciful; others, pragmatic.


On May 24, Physics 11 and 12 students watched with nervous anticipation as their hard work was put to the ultimate test of strength and endurance, one by one.


In the dim light of the auditorium, a hush descends while weight after weight is carefully deposited -- all of it suspended from the little test car perched on a deck 5cm wide. Those in attendance wait for the telltale creak before each wooden construction gives way.



In total, 66 bridges qualified this year to compete for 4 titles: Most Attractive, Most Unusual, Best in Workmanship and Design, and the much coveted Strength title.

On average, the 100g balsa wood bridges held 39kg of mass.



Congratulations to the top scorers from each category:

Most Attractive:

  1. Gabe Alcayde, Lance Soliman and Helene Tran

  2. Ana Goluza and Klaudija Mustapic

  3. Vanessa Montemayor


Most Unusual:

  1. Niza Manalili

  2. Gabe Alcayde, Lance Soliman and Helene Tran

  3. Ana Goluza and Klaudija Mustapic


Workmanship and Design:

  1. Gabi Raffele

  2. Angelica Abijero and Robert Suganob

  3. Marco Iacobucci


Finally, the top prize: Strength

  1. Adriano Pizzolato - 238.80 kg

  2. Katia Krumpak - 169.30 kg

  3. Anthony Chau and Julian Kyle - 126.10 kg


We are proud of Notre Dame students who, year after year, show exceptional talent through this contest.

Join us once again in congratulating Adriano on the exceptional achievement of 238.80 kg (526.46 lbs!).



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