sealPurdue News

February 2001

An apple a day the Rube Goldberg way

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Apples are at the core of Purdue University's 13th Annual National Rube Goldberg contest slated for April 7.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will be in Purdue's Elliott Hall of Music. Last year, student teams from seven universities competed in the event.

This year's machines must select, clean and peel an apple in 20 steps or more. The entire process must take nine minutes or less. Students traditionally combine principles of physics and engineering with common objects, such as rubber bands, marbles, mouse traps and bicycle gears when building their machines.

Points are deducted if students have to assist the machine once it has started. Teams also will be judged and awarded points based on the creative use of their materials and use of related themes.

The winner of Purdue's Feb. 10 campuswide contest will represent the university in the National Rube Goldberg Contest April 7 at West Lafayette High School.

The competition honors the late cartoonist, Rube Goldberg, who specialized in drawing whimsical machines with complex mechanisms to perform simple tasks. Each year, students accept the challenge to build working machines that Goldberg himself might have dreamed up.

More information is available at two World Wide Web pages:
Theta Tau Fraternity
Purdue University News Service

CONTACT: Fernando Cordero, contest chairman, (765) 743-2623,

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS:  Journalists will not be allowed on the stage with the machines during the competition, but they are welcome on stage before and after the contest. Purdue will provide video and photo pool coverage and direct audio and video feeds. An ISDN line is available for radio interviews. Video b-roll, photos and a news release will be available the afternoon of the event. Satellite assistance is available. Video and photographs of past contests are available. If you have questions, contact Jenny Pratt at the Purdue News Service, (765) 494-2079,

Compiled by Jenny Pratt, (765) 494-2079;

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

* To the Purdue News and Photos Page