Image340Aim:To determine the most aerodynamic fruit by means of distance travelled when hurled through the air.

Apparatus: Park. Measuring Device (Interweb journalist Tom E.). Throwing Device (Interweb hardman Mark C.). The following varieties of fruit: apple, apricot, avocado, banana, grape, grapefruit, kiwi, lemon, lime, melon, orange, pear, pineapple, plum, watermelon

Method: Each fruit is pitched as hard as possible by the Throwing Device. After each throw, the Measuring Device is employed to pace the distance from the throw-line to the point of impact and the result recorded accordingly. FT officials ensure consistent throwing and accurate pinpointing of landing sites. Hurling techniques are down to the thrower but largely determined by the shape of the fruit: a simple overarm in most cases but pineapples, being Nature’s hand-grenades, require a more sophisticated swing for maximum distance.


Results: An awful lot of broken fruit. Parts still edible by humans were assembled by SGS into a tasty fruit salad while the remainder was left to Peckham’s wildlife.


Fruit 1st Throw Tie Break
1 Apricot 48 Paces
2 Lemon 47.5
3 Kiwi 43.5 22
4 Lime 43.5 21
5 Avocado 43
6 Pear 39
7 Plum 36
8 Grape, Red, Single 30.5
9 Banana 30
10 Orange 30
11 Grape, Green, Single 29.5
12 Grapefruit 29
13 Melon 23
14 Apple 23
15 Grape, Green, Bunch 17.5
16 Pineapple 17
17 Grape, Red, Bunch 16
18 Watermelon 9.25

And, because this is SCIENCE, the same information in an EXCITING GRAPHICAL format:

Image352* The apricot was the clear winner on the day. This may be down to vast quantities of kinetic energy within the stone or its shape facilitating the flow of air across the surface. Unfortunately no other bum-like fruits were available at the time to perform further tests. Further experiments are required to explore the potential of nectarines as sub-orbital vehicles.

* With much of the expectation being on high-density fruits, the performance of the apple was disappointing. However, the dimpled fruits peformed well enough to justify the ‘golf-ball’ hypothesis I’d made up in the pub earlier.

* Lemons and limes are not only the sharpest but also the hardest fruits, being the only ones to survive the experiment completely undamaged.Image351

* Bananas do not return to the thrower.

* Red grapes can be thrown further than green grapes individually but not in bunches. This may be an early indication of quantum behaviour in the smallest fruits.

* There are few sights more immediately satisfying than the splattering of a watermelon.

* This experiment provided no opportunities to point out that Tim did not have any salt.