LETU Students to Showcase Rube Goldberg Demonstrations April 1


The public is invited to a free demonstration of ingenuity and creativity as seven teams of LeTourneau University engineering students compete in the annual Rube Goldberg competition beginning at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 1, in the Belcher Gymnasium of the Solheim Center at the LETU main campus, 2100 S Mobberly Ave.

Students participating in this annual event are challenged to use a maximum number of energy transitions to create unique, yet trivial, inventions. The event is named after Rube Goldberg, an early 20th century cartoonist who was famous for making ridiculous machines. The idea of the demonstration is to foster the students' ingenuity and to prove Murphy's Law exists.

"An excellent example of a Rube Goldberg demonstration might be the popular children's board game from many years ago called 'Mouse Trap' by Milton Bradley," said engineering professor and Rube Goldberg sponsor Dr. Bill Graff. "In that game, there are many energy transitions, from a steel ball that travels through channels to a boot that kicks over a bucket, all ending with a mousetrap descending to trap a plastic mouse game piece.

"The Rube Goldberg demonstrations are always well-attended on campus because it's fun to see how complicated our engineering students can make even the most trivial of actions," Graff said. " Sometimes their inventions work great! It is a fun exercise in semi-futility that produces a lot of camaraderie among the students who build these machines. "

A video screen will be set up in the gym to help viewers follow the progress of the inventions through their gyrations. Each invention takes nearly all night to set up for a five- to 10-minute demonstration.

The students in each team and their team demonstrations are scheduled as follows:

4 p.m. #1 "Paperwad Disposal" - James Frank, Tom Kelley, Paul Manley

4:10 p.m. #2 "Coffee for Two" - John Khoury, Matthew Libby

4:20 p.m. #3 "Not Yet" - Anna Bouchard, Jeffrey Lubin, Taylor Schwarting

4:30 p.m. #4 "Driver's License" - Zach Jones, Joshua Veague

4:40 p.m. #5 "Murphy's Fist" - Craig (Grey) Hawthorne, David Bevan

4:50 p.m. #6 "Disco" - Rusty Goldsmith, Micah Martin

5 p.m. #7 "Clueless" - Jim Brewer, Jonathan Campbell

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