What is the Rube Goldberg Competition?
Rube Goldberg machine contests are inspired by Reuben Lucius Goldberg, whose cartoons combined simple household items into complex devices to perform trivial tasks. The machines combine the principles of physics and engineering, using common objects such as marbles, mousetraps, stuffed animals, electric mixers, vacuum cleaners, rubber tubes, bicycle parts and anything else that happens to be on hand.
The Argonne-sponsored Rube Goldberg Machine Contest is held every year in late winter or early spring at Chicago's Navy Pier. Area high schools compete to build a complex machine, comprising over 20 steps, to perform a simple task.
The ultimate goal of the contest is give high school students hands-on engineering experience and to encourage them to make science and engineering part of their future academic and professional careers.
2013 Competition -- Video: Hammer a Nail
2012 Competition -- Video: Inflate and Pop a Balloon
2011 Competition -- Article: Water a Plant
2013 Competition: Hammer a Nail
Argonne National Laboratory's 18th annual Rube Goldberg Machine Contest was held at the Chicago Children's Museum on Navy Pier.
The winner was Hoffman Estates High School Team 2. They were also the People's Choice winner with their "Candy Shop"-themed machine.
Watch a video of the 2013 event »
In addition to advancing to the national championship, the winning team received a traveling trophy to display until the 2014 contest. The group also went on a tour of Argonne and had lunch with Argonne scientists, where they had the opportunity to demonstrate their creation.
Argonne’s Division of Communication, Education and Public Affairs sponsored the event in collaboration with the Chicago Children’s Museum and the National Rube Goldberg Machine Contest.
How to Register
If your high school is interested in entering the Rube Goldberg Competition next year, please look for more information on this webpage in the Fall.
For questions about the Rube Goldberg Competition contact
Phone: (630) 252-3380