Argonne National Laboratory

2014 Rube Goldberg mission: Zip a zipper in 20 steps

By Justin H.S. BreauxFebruary 18, 2014

CHICAGO, Ill. – A team from Reavis High School in Burbank, Ill., won one for the zipper at Argonne National Laboratory's 19th annual Rube Goldberg Machine Contest, held today at Chicago’s Children Museum at Navy Pier.

Reavis High defeated nine other teams by building a complex machine that takes at least 20 steps to zip a zipper.

By winning Argonne's contest, the Reavis team advances to the National High School Rube Goldberg Machine Championship, to be held Saturday, April 5, at Waukesha Country Technical College in Pewaukee, Wis.

Second place in today's competition went to Maine Township High School South, and third place went to Luther North College Prep.

The People's Choice Trophy, awarded by popular vote by scientists and other Argonne employees visiting the machines during the contest, went to Chicago Christian High School in Palos Heights.

Other teams in the contest were: 

  • Benet Academy
  • Hoffman Estates High School, Hoffman Estates (two teams)
  • Joliet Central High School, Joliet (two teams)
  • Jones College Prep

Information about the Argonne Rube Goldberg Machine Contest for High Schools is available online.

Argonne's Division of Communications, Education and Public Affairs sponsors the February 21st event in collaboration with Chicago Children’s Museum and the National Rube Goldberg Machine Contest. The event is licensed by Rube Goldberg, Inc.

“Rube Goldberg” is a registered trademark and copyright of Rube Goldberg, Inc., which can be reached, at (203) 227-0818, by e-mail at or via their website.

Chicago Children’s Museum’s mission is to create a community where play and learning connect. For more information about Chicago Children’s Museum, call (312) 527-1000 or visit their website.

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America's scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

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