Wacky machines to take center stage at Rube Goldberg contest

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Teams representing seven student groups will compete in the 2013 Penn State Regional Rube Goldberg Machine Contest beginning at 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 23 in Presidents Hall at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel on the University Park campus. Sponsored and judged by the Penn State Engineering Alumni Society, the contest is free and open to the public. Doors will open at 1 p.m.

Held annually, the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest challenges students to use innovative ideas, unconventional problem-solving skills and a little humor to design a machine that accomplishes an otherwise trivial task in an overly complex number of steps. This year’s national challenge is to design and build a machine that hammers a nail.

Teams entering the 2013 Penn State contest include the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) University Park chapter, the ASME Harrisburg chapter, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the Chinese Undergraduate Student Association, the Society of Engineering Science, the Society of Energy Engineers and the Engineering Leadership Society.

ASME University Park will be defending its four-year winning streak at the Penn State regional competition.

The top three teams will win trophies and cash prizes, and the winning team will be eligible to represent Penn State at the National Rube Goldberg Machine Contest on March 30 at the Center of Industry and Science in Columbus, Ohio.

The contest is named after Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, Reuben Lucius Goldberg, whose drawings combined simple machine parts and household items to create contraptions that accomplished simple tasks in a laughable number of excess steps. Although he never built any of his machines, Goldberg’s creative thought process and innovation have become an inspiration to engineers and scientists all over the world.

More information about the event is available at: www.engr.psu.edu/RubeGoldberg.

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Last Updated March 05, 2013