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LETU Engineering Students to Showcase Rube Goldberg Demonstrations April 21


LeTourneau University engineering students will showcase free demonstrations of ingenuity and creativity as eight teams compete in the annual Rube Goldberg invention competition. Competition begins at 3 p.m. Thursday, April 21, in the Belcher Gymnasium of the Solheim Center on the main campus of LETU, 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.

"Rube Goldberg demonstrations have even been used in commercials, like the award-winning two-minute Honda Accord commercial on the Internet that shows how a single cog rolling on an incline starts an elaborate and well-orchestrated series of energy transfers using various parts from the car," said engineering professor and Rube Goldberg sponsor Dr. Bill Graff. He said the Milton Bradley board game "Mouse Trap" is another example of a Rube Goldberg demonstration.
"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 and sometimes they don't, but it is always a fun exercise in that produces a lot of camaraderie among the students who build these machines and whose grades depend on how well they are designed and executed."

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:

Time Team Demonstration Name Team Members
3:00 pm 1 "Robot War" Caleb Pinter, Michael Searcy, Amber Sherman, Evan Thompson
3:20 pm 2 "The Joy of a Silent Awakening" Lorrin Quinn, Philip Robinson, Adam Sarhage
3:30 pm 3 "Photo Booth" Gary Brown, Bryan Little, Jeff Hogue
3:40 pm 4 "A Bright Idea" Jeremy Liggett, Christopher Mounce, Justin Pawula
3:50 pm 5 "Snooze Fest" Brandon Butler, Christy Day, Shayla Dunnavant
4:00 pm 6 "A Mixed-Up Fairy Tale" Heather Gavin, Amy Lundberg, Matthieu Larson
4:10 pm 7 "The Mechanics of Throwing" Allen Worcester, Paul Power

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