A trebuchet is a siege engine that was employed in the Middle Ages either to smash masonry walls or to throw projectiles over them. It is sometimes called a "counterweight trebuchet" or "counterpoise trebuchet" in order to distinguish it from an earlier weapon that has come to be called the "traction trebuchet", the original version with pulling men instead of a counterweight. Click here to learn more about trebuchets.
The ISU Physics Club participates in the Trebuchet Team at ISU, who operate a trebuchet named "Reggie's Chuckin' Wagon." ISU has placed first for the last two years in the Morton Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival. Click here to see a gallery of trebuchet images.
The Physics Club trebuchet began as an Advanced Lab design project and was entered twice in the Morton Punkin' Chuckin' contest. The first version, shown below, won 3rd place in 2001.
In 2002, the revised trebuchet shown below (now christened "Pumpkin Pi") won 2nd place at the Punkin' Chuckin' Contest in Morton. The team record was 613 ft.
In 2007 the trebuchet was given a complete redesign. In the picture below the physics club prepares the trebuchet for a demonstration at their trebuchet camp held in conjunction with the Children's Discovery Museum of Normal.
In 2007 and 2008, the club took first place at the Pumpkin Chunkin' contest in Morton. In the video above, the club fires a test shot. The current record distance for the trebuchet is 929 ft. Read the story. The Physics Club occasionally holds local mini-trebuchet contests for high school and university students.