One tradition of The American Ceramic
Society’s annual meetings and the coinciding MS&T conferences is
the student mug drop competition, and this video shows some of the competition from 2008.

The purpose of the Ceramic Mug Drop
contest is to promote spirited and collegial competition among students
by demonstrating their prowess in manufacturing a ceramic mug
possessing high strength, mechanical reliability, and aesthetics. Mugs
are fabricated by student teams from ceramic raw materials and are
judged on both aesthetics and breaking thresholds. The mugs are then
dropped from successively higher levels until the breaking threshold is
reached. The mug with this highest successful drop distance wins.

Certain rules apply, but in general, the
mugs must be made entirely from ceramic or glass materials, and may not
contain any metal, plastic, paint, organics, or non-ceramic materials.
Each must have a serviceable handle, be able to hold at least 500 ml of
liquid but not more than 625 ml, be usable for drinking purposes and
must be fired or formed at a temperature of 300°C or higher.

Some of the mugs are quite beautiful (see below) and another award is given for the “Best Looking” mug.

The contest is sponsored by Keramos, the national ceramic engineering fraternity, and that the winning team was from the University of Washington.