Every year, in addition to being hooded and receiving their diploma, graduating physics and astronomy Ph.D. students at Tufts participate in the Isaac Newton-inspired apple-dropping ceremony, conceived by Alexander Vilenkin, professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and director of the Tufts Institute of Cosmology.
“The ceremony was my idea, and it probably reflects my weird sense of humor,” said Vilenkin. “One day in 2005, I had a vision of this apple dropping ceremony. It just came out of the blue. But I thought it fits well with our antigravity stone saga and provides much needed comic relief after the serious business of the Ph.D. dissertation defense. I presented the idea to other members of the Cosmology Institute over lunch with some trepidation, but they liked it right away. The rest is history.”