Hoffman Estates wins Argonne's Rube Goldberg Contest

March 11, 2013

LEMONT, Ill. – A team from Hoffman Estates High School in Hoffman Estates, Ill., dropped the hammer on the competition at Argonne National Laboratory's 18th annual Rube Goldberg Machine Contest, held today at Argonne.

By winning Argonne's contest, the Hoffman Estates Team #1 advances to the National High School Rube Goldberg Machine Championship, to be held Saturday, March 16, in Pewaukee, Wis.

Hoffman Estates Team #1 defeated eight other teams by building a complex machine that takes at least 20 steps to hammer a nail. The team's machine was themed as a chocolate company; other themes included Chicago, Toyland and a Strongman carnival contest.

Second place in today's competition went to Maine South’s Team #1, and third place went to Maine South’s Team #2.

The People's Choice Trophy, awarded by popular vote by scientists and other Argonne employees visiting the machines during the contest, also went to Hoffman Estates #1.

Other teams in the contest were:

  • Chicago Christian High School, Palos Heights
  • Joliet Central High School, Joliet (two teams)
  • Maine Township High School South, Park Ridge (two teams)
  • Wilmington High School, Wilmington
  • York Community High School, Elmhurst

In addition to advancing to the national championship, the winning team received a traveling trophy to display until the 2014 contest and a tour of Argonne, including a visit to the Advanced Photon Source and lunch with Argonne scientists. The first-place team also will have the opportunity to once again demonstrate its winning machine at Argonne on the day of its tour. In addition, each team member and the team's faculty advisor received an Argonne National Laboratory Rube Goldberg Machine laptop backpack and an Argonne Rube Goldberg Machine Contest T-shirt.

Second-place team members and their faculty advisor received Argonne National Laboratory Rube Goldberg Machine laptop backpacks and Argonne Rube Goldberg Machine Contest T-shirts.

Third-place team members and their faculty advisor received Argonne National Laboratory Rube Goldberg Machine Contest T-shirts.

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.

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

Argonne’s Division of Educational Programs and Communications and Public Affairs Division sponsors the event in collaboration with the Chicago Children’s Museum and the National Rube Goldberg Machine Contest, held annually at Purdue University. The event is licensed by Rube Goldberg, Inc. The contest is usually held at the Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier in Chicago but was rescheduled this year due to inclement weather.

“Rube Goldberg” is a registered trademark and copyright of Rube Goldberg, Inc., which can be reached at (203) 227-0818, Rube@RubeGoldberg.com or via its website.