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* Drew Wischer, captain of the Purdue University winning team, talks about the challenges of creating a Rube Goldberg machine. (36 seconds)
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* The Purdue Society of Professional Engineers' winning team captain Drew Wischer describes how participating in Rube Goldberg competions increases teamwork and leadership skills. (36 seconds)
* Society of Manufacturing Engineers team memeber Mike Fiwek describes the joy of working outside the confines of a curriculum and without supervision from a teacher. (11 seconds)
* Competition organizer Sean Noonan describes how the ''Spirit of Rube Goldberg'' creates new opportunities for student engineers. (25 seconds)

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* Purdue University Rube Goldberg

February 24, 2007

Purdue Rube Goldberg team wins for third consecutive year

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -
2007 Regional winners
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caption below

The Purdue University Society of Professional Engineers put the squeeze on the competition Saturday (Feb. 24) and took top honors during the 24th annual Rube Goldberg Regional Machine Contest by finding a new - and more inefficient - way to make orange juice.

It is the third year in a row that the professional engineers' team has won Purdue's regional competition and the second consecutive year the team claimed the People's Choice Award, voted on by the more than 1,500 people who attended the event. The team's machine used 134 steps to squeeze the juice from an orange and then pour the juice into a glass.

The annual competition, which took place on the Purdue campus, rewards machines that most effectively combine creativity with inefficiency and complexity.

"We've been working on the machine since last October, and we spent about 3,000 total hours on the machine," said team captain Drew Wischer, a senior majoring in aviation technology from Cedarburg, Wis. "Although this is the third year this team has won, I am the only returning member from last year's team. We really did feel like we started from the beginning, and I didn't expect to win. I just felt it would be a good experience for the new team."

The 16-member winning team adopted the theme "Secret Agent Man 00J: The Orange is Not Enough." The machine included a secret agent who broke into a casino, drove his Lotus automobile and parachuted for a soft landing to help the orange reach its destination where it was squeezed and then poured into a glass. The machine employed a toy Slinky, photographs, planes, a parachute, floating balls and numerous other objects to complete the task.

"The last couple of months it seemed like it was really coming together, and I started thinking we could do well in the contest " Wischer said. "It was a tough one to win because all the teams had such great machines."

The Society of Professional Engineers team now advances to the national competition, which will take place at 10:30 a.m. March 31 on the Purdue campus.

"I'm very impressed with the quality of the machines this year too, because it was an especially difficult task to complete," said Sean Noonan, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering from Perrineville, N.J., and Theta Tau's Purdue regional contest chairman. "But the teams succeeded and there was lots of fun and energy at the whole event."

2007 Regional winners
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The Society of Manufacturing Engineers, which took second place, used a Florida theme in their machine. A racetrack, grandstand, factory, swinging pail and even a red-and-white checked tablecloth and two donuts were used in their contraption.

"We took the orange on a voyage from the grove to the juicing factory to the grocery store and then to the kitchen," said Mike Fiwek, a senior in the College of Technology from Elkhart, Ind. "It was a lot of fun, but I think we could have done better."

The American Society of Mechanical Engineering placed third at the event. The team's theme was "Indiana Jones." It began with a team member trying to steal a boilermaker express train and he needed to replace the train with a bag of sand. An orange then began rolling toward a destination much like the boulder in the first Indiana Jones movie. It ended with the "sacrificial" juicing of the orange. The team employed red and blue lights, a tire, dry ice, foliage and other items in the machine.

"We've worked very hard since September - countless hours," said Nathan Flatt, the captain of the team and a senior in mechanical engineering from Martinsville, Ind. "We knew going into this that it would be difficult, and I'm proud of our team."

The competition pays homage to the late cartoonist Rube Goldberg, who specialized in drawing whimsical machines with complex mechanisms to perform simple tasks.

Machines in the competition had three attempts to complete two successful runs. Teams lost points if they had to manually assist their machines. In addition to successfully completing the task, teams received points based on creativity and complexity.

Other teams competing in the event were the: Society of Women Engineers and the Society of Black Engineers teamed with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. A team from Murray State University in Murray, Ky., also competed in the contest.

Sponsors for this year's event include Omega Engineering Inc. of Stamford, Conn.; Minute Maid Co.; BAE Systems; Bosch Group Inc.; Daimler-Chrysler Corp.; Fluor Corp.; General Electric Co.; Kimberly-Clark Corp.; Lockheed Martin Corp.; and Motorola Inc. Purdue's College of Engineering and College of Technology also support the event.

The Indiana High School Rube Goldberg Machine Contest was held in the afternoon at Purdue. The high school event was coordinated by the Purdue Society of Women Engineers.

Indiana high schools participating in the event include the International School of Indiana, Indianapolis; Richmond High School, Richmond; Noblesville High School, Noblesville; Newburgh Christian School, Newburgh; Delphi Community High School, Delphi; Southport High School, Indianapolis; Greenfield Central High School, Greenfield; Guerin Catholic High School, Noblesville; Kouts High School, Kouts; Anderson Highland High School, Anderson; South Putnam Junior/Senior High School, Greencastle; and Mooresville High School, Mooresville. Brandywine High School of Niles, Mich., also participated.

The competition pays homage to the late cartoonist Rube Goldberg, who specialized in drawing whimsical machines with complex mechanisms to perform simple tasks. Goldberg earned a degree in engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1904. He worked as an engineer for the city of San Francisco for less than a year before becoming a sports cartoonist for the San Francisco Chronicle. He received a Pulitzer Prize in 1948 for his political cartoons published by the New York Sun.

Winners of the regional competitions held around the nation will come to Purdue for the March 31 national competition. In past years, teams in the national competition have included the University of Texas at Austin, Hofstra University, Ohio State University, the University of Toledo and George Washington University. This year marks the 19th national contest.

In previous contests, students' machines have been required to select, clean and peel an apple; make a cup of coffee; toast a piece of bread; put a stamp on an envelope; and drop a penny into a piggy bank. Winners have appeared on television shows internationally, including CBS' "This Morning," ABC's "Good Morning America," NBC's "Today," "Newton's Apple," "Ripley's Believe it or Not," the Fox News Network and CNN. Purdue's national competition winning teams from the past two years have been featured on "Jimmy Kimmel Live."

Writer: Cynthia Sequin, (765) 494-4192, csequin@purdue.edu

Sources: Sean Noonan, (201) 726-4695, snoonan@purdue.edu

Drew Wischer, (262) 573-8025, dwischer@purdue.edu

Nathan Flatt, (765) 346-0276, nflatt@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu

Note to Journalists:  Broadcast-quality video clips are available by contacting the Purdue News Service at (765) 494-2096. For questions or assistance, contact Cynthia Sequin, Purdue News Service, at (765) 494-4192 or (317) 938-5209 (cell), csequin@purdue.edu. Results of the Indiana Rube Goldberg High School Competition will be announced on Monday (Feb. 26).

PHOTO CAPTION:
Purdue students Michael Stumpf, from left, Greg Bauman and Drew Wischer celebrate the winning run of their machine on Saturday (Feb. 24) in the regional Rube Goldberg Machine Contest. Their team, the Society of Professional Engineers, claimed its third consecutive regional competition win with a machine that used 134 steps to squeeze juice from an orange into a pitcher and then pour the juice into a glass. The competition, which took place on the Purdue campus, pays homage to the late cartoonist Rube Goldberg, who specialized in drawing whimsical machines with complex mechanisms to perform simple tasks. Stumpf is a junior from Liberty Township, Ohio; Bauman is a freshman from Hoagland, Ind.; and Wischer is a senior from Cedarburg, Wis. (Purdue News Service photo/David Umberger)

A publication-quality photo is available at http://news.uns.purdue.edu/images/+2007/rube-local07-winner.jpg

PHOTO CAPTION:
Purdue seniors, from left, Mike Fiwek and Will Wade celebrate the run of their machine in Saturday's (Feb. 24) regional Rube Goldberg Machine Contest. Fiwek of Elkhart, Ind., and Wade of Leslie, Mich., are members of the competition's second-place Society of Manufacturing Engineers team. The competition, which takes place on the Purdue campus, pays homage to the late cartoonist Rube Goldberg, who specialized in drawing whimsical machines with complex mechanisms to perform simple tasks. Teams in this year's event had to design machines to squeeze juice from an orange into a pitcher and then pour the juice into a glass. (Purdue News Service photo/David Umberger)

A publication-quality photo is available at http://news.uns.purdue.edu/images/+2007/rube-local07-2nd.jpg

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