What does fall look like at Carnegie Science's Broad Branch Road Campus? It's a time of epic soccer matches, international potluck dinners, harvest festivals, and a breathtaking display of autumn foliage.
Nestled in a serene and wooded area of northwest Washington, D.C., Carnegie Science's picturesque Broad Branch Road (BBR) Campus comes alive with the vibrant hues of fall and celebrates the season with a host of fun, seasonal festivities. From the annual Mudd Cup soccer match to potluck dinners featuring flavors from around the world, BBR offers a distinctive blend of camaraderie and cultural enrichment, complementing its reputation for cutting-edge research in the Earth and planetary sciences.
Community-building activities like these are a crucial part of ensuring that members of our staff are connected across cohorts and that postdocs create lasting friendships that will outlive their time at Carnegie Science.
One of the highlights of the fall season is the highly anticipated Mud Cup soccer match. This spirited rivalry brings together scientists, researchers, and staff for a friendly yet competitive game—a tradition that started in 1976.
The origins of the tradition trace back to a lighthearted letter from the former Geophysical Laboratory, then located less than two miles away on Upton Street. Dubbing themselves the "Laboratory Pistons," they challenged the then-Department of Terrestrial Magnetism to the first official interdepartmental soccer match. Responding with their own letter (and putting post-game drinks on the line), DTM chose the moniker "DTM Dynamics," which was later shortened to Dynamos.
Now, 47 years later, the tradition remains strong, with the Pistons securing a 5–2 victory over the Dynamos. Despite the loss, spirits were high as both teams celebrated together with drinks, pizza, and laughter back on campus.
During the Fall Picnic, the Broad Branch Road Campus transforms its quad into an autumnal wonderland. Colleagues don costumes and gather with family and friends to enjoy barbecue and activities, including cornhole, tug of war, and pumpkin carving. A particularly amusing event involves attendees attempting to guess the weight of an unusually large pumpkin. The person with the closest guess without going over, following "Price is Right" rules, gets to take the pumpkin home—if they can manage to carry it.
Potluck Dinner with Global Flavors
The campus grounds host a fall potluck dinner, showcasing the diversity within the scientific community. Scientists, researchers, and staff from around the world contribute a medley of dishes, creating a melting pot of cultural flavors. Traditional American Thanksgiving food is also catered.
Hispanic Heritage Month
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, Broad Branch Road hosted El Cumpa, a local food truck renowned for its unique Chilean Street Food. Organized by Carlitta Constant, Carnegie Science’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Manager, the event allowed everyone to savor the rich culinary traditions of Chile. It is one of many efforts to highlight the diverse cultures of the Carnegie community.
Chile’s Atacama Desert, home to Carnegie Science’s Las Campanas Observatory, features the du Pont, Swope, and twin Magellan telescopes. The next-generation Giant Magellan Telescope is also under construction at the facility.
A Season to be Savored
Fall at Carnegie Science’s Broad Branch Road Campus is a season to be savored and celebrated. With an array of fall activities catering to our community's scientific and cultural interests, BBR provides a unique and enriching experience for all, set against the backdrop of stunning natural beauty.
This rich array of fun and family-friendly celebrations enhances the BBR campus culture and builds a strong community that keeps members connected, even after they move on to other positions. For example, postdoctoral alumni often request an update on who won the Mud Cup, and retirees and even their adult children continue to participate in Carnegie programs, sometimes for decades.