Rube Goldberg Machine Contest - February 18 - T-Room

February 16, 2009

Rube Goldberg Machine contestants from previous years

Rube Goldberg Machine contestants from previous years

Theta Tau would like to cordially invite you to the 2009 Rube Goldberg Machine Contest. The contest will be held on Wednesday, February 18, 2009 in the Taylor Room of the ETC Building at 5:30 PM.

Contest and Contestants

The Rube Goldberg Machine Contest (RGMC) is in its 13th year of success in the Cockrell School of Engineering. We are excited to announce that we will have four student engineering organizations and one independent team competing for the distinguished first place prize. The teams participating in the 2009 competition are as follows: Theta Tau Professional Engineering Fraternity, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Society of Women Engineers and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

The contest will be judged by Kelly McQuery, Ben Hodges, Billy Wood, and one or two representatives from Lockheed Martin. The winning team of this contest will go on to represent the Cockrell School of Engineering in the national contest held at Purdue University in April.

Theta Tau is the nation's oldest co-ed professional fraternity for engineers. The Psi Beta Chapter was established at the University of Texas at Austin in 1991. Theta Tau participates in a number of events each year, the most distinctive of which is the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest.

Rube Goldberg machine

A Rube Goldberg machine is an apparatus which performs a simple task in an overly-complex way. Such machines are named for American engineer and cartoonist Rube Goldberg in honor of his cartoon series which depicted such machines. He stated that his machines were "a symbol of man's capacity for exerting maximum effort to achieve minimal results."

The Task

The task for this year's contest will be to replace an incandescent lightbulb with an LED bulb in 20 steps or more. The competition hopes to finally answer the question, "How many engineers does it take to change a light bulb?" More details, including contest rules may be found on Theta Tau's website.

The university has a good reputation in the contest. It has placed quite high every year, including a national win in 2002.

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