February 15, 2003
Purdue team scores double win with sports-themed Rube machineWEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. The Purdue University Theta Tau/Phi Sigma Rho team scored first place with judges and captured the People's Choice Award today (Saturday, 2/15) in the 21st annual Rube Goldberg Machine Contest.
Machines in the competition have three tries to complete two successful runs, said local contest chairman Josh Sandler, a sophomore in computer engineering from Buffalo Grove, Ill.
"Our first trial is the first time we've ever crushed a can," said team member Jen Watson, a senior in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics from West Lafayette. "As of last night (before the contest) the machine didn't work. We're shocked! We're excited!"
A record nine teams participated in the annual competition, put on by Theta Tau Fraternity, that pays homage to the late cartoonist Rube Goldberg, who specialized in drawing whimsical machines with complex mechanisms to perform simple tasks.
The team, made up of members of Theta Tau fraternity and Phi Sigma Rho engineering sorority, will represent Purdue on Saturday, April 12, in the national contest, which also will be in West Lafayette.
The winning team won a $250 cash prize and the championship trophy. The "LCs," a team of freshman engineering students, captured the second-place trophy and a $150 cash prize. The third-place trophy and $50 in prize money went to Society of Manufacturing Engineers.
Rube Goldberg and the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest are the trademark and copyright of Rube Goldberg Inc.
One of this year's judges, Dominick Andrisani, professor in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, was soaked when one malfunctioning machine dumped a bucket of water on him.
"It's never good to dump water on the judges," said fellow judge Jerry Dale, a representative from General Electric Co., which co-sponsored the local contest with Lockheed Martin Corp. and Parker Hannifan Co.
"It is always hard to judge this contest," said a wet but smiling Andrisani. "There's so much energy here. Each machine is so unique. So much goes into this contest, from engineering the machines' execution through the student interaction."
Points are deducted if students have to assist the machine once it has started. Teams also were judged and awarded points based on the creative use of their materials and related themes.
The local contest was won last year by the Purdue Chapter of the Society of Professional Engineers team. Their "Mission to Mars" machine used 50 steps to secure, raise and wave a national flag over a miniature Martian landscape.
The University of Texas at Austin team's tribute to the heroes of Sept. 11 captured the 14th annual national contest in April, narrowly beating Purdue and two other teams in the competition to raise and wave the American flag.
In previous contests students' machines have been required to select, clean and peel an apple; make a cup of coffee; toast a piece of bread; put a stamp on an envelope; and drop a penny into a piggy bank. Winners have appeared on "Late Night With David Letterman," CBS' "This Morning," ABC's "Good Morning America," NBC's "Today," Newton's Apple" and CNN.
A publication-quality photograph is available at ftp://ftp.purdue.edu/pub/uns/rube.local03.jpeg.
PHOTO CAPTION 2:
A publication-quality photograph is available at ftp://ftp.purdue.edu/pub/uns/rube2.local03.jpeg.
Writer: Grant Flora, (765) 494-2073, firstname.lastname@example.orgSources: Josh Sandler, regional Rube Goldberg Contest chairman, (765) 743-2461 ext. 879, PurdueRube@hotmail.com
Willie Karashin, national contest chairman, (765) 743-2461 ext. 865, email@example.com
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; firstname.lastname@example.org