Argonne National Laboratory

Rube Goldberg Competition
"A comically involved, complicated invention, laboriously contrived to preform a simple operation."- Webster Dictionary definition of a Rube Goldberg machine.

In the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest, student teams compete to build a complex machine, comprised of over 20 steps, to perform a simple task, such as "open an umbrella."

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, rubber tubes, bicycle parts and anything else that happens to be on hand.

Argonne National Laboratory and the Chicago Children’s Museum are proud to partner as regional hosts for the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest. Our regional competition is open to high school students and is held every year in early spring at the Chicago Children's Museum located at Navy Pier.

In addition to advancing to the national championship, the winning team receives a traveling trophy to display until the next contest. The group also tours Argonne and have lunch with Argonne scientists, where students have the opportunity to demonstrate their creation.

The ultimate goal of the contest is to 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.

For additional information on Rube Goldberg and the national competition, visit Rube Goldberg Inc.