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April 25, 2000 - VOL. 27, NO. 14

UT Austin mechanical engineering students win national championship at 12th annual Rube Goldberg competition


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A team of mechanical engineering students from UT Austin won the national championship trophy on April 8 with their overly complicated invention at the 12th Annual National Rube Goldberg Machine Contest at Purdue University.

In honor of their victory, the Tower at UT Austin was lighted bright orange on the following Monday night.

The national competition honors the late cartoonist Rube Goldberg, who drew complicated machines to perform simple tasks. The task in Saturday's competition was to place seven items that represent the best inventions and discoveries of the century into a time capsule.

The machine they invented, and successfully operated in the competition against six other teams, started with a silver dollar rolling down tracks and went through 48 steps ending with a torsional spring rotating a time capsule lid and shutting it closed to seal 17 objects in the time capsule. They called their wining entry, "Rube Goldberg's Entertainment Machine."

In addition to the trophy, the team members won a prize of $250 for their approximately 1,000 hours of work that began in October. Their investment in the machine was about $300, said team spokesman Chad Bruns of Sugar Land.

Other members of the team, all Texas residents, are: Daniel Booth of Austin; Neal Tanner of Burnet; Kirsten Christopherson of DeSoto; Nikolas Lane of Georgetown; John Franco, Jeff Krimmel and Justin Olsen, all of Katy; Edward Sutherland of Temple; and Michael Bruns of Fredericksburg.

The other contest winners were University of Toledo, second, and Purdue, in third place



April 25, 2000
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