Ninth Annual Balloon Battle: Fifteen Minutes of Aim
July 15, 2011
Bruce Hammock gets ready to throw. (Photos by Kathy Keatley Garvey) Bruce Hammock leaps away from graduate student Karen Wagner.
DAVIS--As scientists, they know water by its chemical formula of H2O: two parts hydrogen combined with one part oxygen.
But for 15 minutes a year, they think of it as the key substance inside balloons.
Three dozen scientists at the University of California, Davis, left their labs Friday afternoon for the ninth annual Bruce Hammock Water Balloon Battle, held on the Briggs Hall lawn.
They tossed 2000 pre-filled water balloons in 15 minutes, amounting to “15 Minutes of Aim” or “Bruce’s Big Balloon Battle at Briggs.”
Some used Super Soakers, toy pressurized water blasters, to spray the other water warriors. A few grabbed half-filled buckets for sneak attacks.
Hammock, a distinguished professor of entomology, launched the water balloon fest in 2003 as a way to build camaraderie and gain relief from the heat. Christophe Morisseau, associate research scientist in the Hammock lab, coordinates the annual event.
The Hammock lab is known for working hard and playing hard, even when it comes to balloon battles.
“We look forward to this every year,” Morisseau said.
When it was all over, the scientists, including professors, visiting scientists, postdoctoral researchers, graduate students and undergraduates, picked up the balloon remnants and went home.
Hammock, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the Entomological Society of America, holds a joint appointment in cancer research with the UC Davis Medical Center. He directs the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Superfund Program on the UC Davis campus, as well as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Training Program in Biotechnology and the NIEHS Combined Analytical Laboratory.
But for 15 minutes a year, Hammock, joined by researchers in other labs, turns the Briggs Hall lawn into a waterfest.
Or an H2O battle.
Christophe Morisseau: a human target. Bruce Hammock gets doused by Zain Syed (left) and Christophe Morisseau. Christophe Morisseau, associate research scientist in the Bruce Hammock lab, gets dunked by postdoctoral student Mark McCoy Aim here! Bruce Hammock taunts his fellow water warriors with his hat. In the background is undergraduate student Ian Morelan.
--Kathy Keatley Garvey
UC Davis Department of Entomology