Teams to compete in Purdue Rube Goldberg contest Feb. 21

February 11, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Four university teams will compete in the Purdue Rube Goldberg Machine Contest on Feb. 21.

The regional competition, presented by the Purdue Engineering Student Council, will be held in the Purdue Armory. Doors will open at 10:30 a.m., and the contest will begin at 11 a.m. The event is free and open to the public.

The Rube Goldberg competition rewards machines that most effectively combine creativity with inefficiency and complexity to complete a given task. The contest's namesake is the late cartoonist Rube Goldberg, who specialized in drawing whimsical machines with complex mechanisms to perform simple tasks.

This year's challenge is to erase a chalkboard.

Teams will be judged on the complexity, creativity and ingenuity of their machines. The winning machine must complete two successful runs out of three attempts, and points are deducted if students have to assist the machine once it has started. Twenty steps is the minimum number required to complete the task, but most teams will use many more.

The teams competing in the Purdue competition are the Purdue Society of Professional Engineers, the Purdue Association of Mechanical and Electrical Technologies, the University of Illinois Rube Goldberg Society and the Milwaukee School of Engineering.

Sponsors for the Purdue competition are General Motors and Nucor Steel.

The winning team will compete in the national competition March 28 at the Center of Science and Industry in Columbus, Ohio. The Purdue Society of Professional Engineers won the 2014 national competition.

More information on the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest is available at

Writer: Judith Barra Austin, 765-494-2432, 

Source: Elise Lund, Purdue Engineering Student Council, 

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