Bruce's Big Battle at Briggs: 15 Minutes of Aim!

Jul 19, 2017

What do professors do for fun and camaraderie?

Bruce Hammock, distinguished professor at the University of California, Davis, who holds a joint appointment with the Department of Entomology and Nematology and the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, annually hosts a water balloon battle for his lab members and staff.

It amounts to 15 minutes of aim (not fame) and it takes place on the Briggs Hall lawn, off Kleiber Hall Drive. Only 15 minutes? That's how fast the water warriors can toss 2000 water balloons.

Researcher Christophe Morisseau, who organizes the annual funfest, says this year's event will take place at 3 p.m., Friday, July 21.

Hammock's lab and staff are international. They're from Canada, Ukraine, France, China, Sweden, Japan, Germany, Korea, Uruguay and the Netherlands, besides the United States. They are post docs, researchers, graduate students, visiting scholars, visiting graduate students, visiting summer students, short-term visiting scholars and student interns.

They will fill 2000 water balloons, place them in plastic tubs, and at 3 p.m., they begin. But just when you think it's all over, it's not. Any water remaining in the buckets will be splashed on unsuspecting water warriors.

Hammock launched the annual event in 2003 as a form of camaraderie and as a means of rewarding the lab members for their hard work. Other professors and their labs are invited to join in.

After the 15 minutes of aim, it's clean-up time. The water warriors leave refreshed (especially in triple-digit temperatures) and the thirsty lawn isn't as thirsty.

Highly honored by his peers (but a target at the annual water balloon battle), Hammock is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, which honors academic invention and encourages translations of inventions to benefit society. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the Entomological Society of America, and the recipient of the Bernard B. Brodie Award in Drug Metabolism, sponsored by the America Society for Pharmacology and  Experimental Therapeutics. He directs the campuswide Superfund Research Program, National Institutes of Health Biotechnology Training Program, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Combined Analytical Laboratory.