Purdue's Rube Goldberg winners to appear on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live'

Team members celebrate victory
Team members celebrate victory
Team members celebrate victory
The Purdue Society of Professional Engineers team will demonstrate their winning machine for a national audience on ABC's 'Jimmy Kimmel Live.'
Team members celebrate victory next to their winning machine
Kevin Hollingsworth, from left, of Zionsville, Ind., and teammate Shawn Jordan, of Fort Wayne, Ind., celebrate their machine's successful run.

The winners of the national Rube Goldberg Machine contest will appear on the late-night show on Friday, April 15 to demonstrate their machine, which executes 125 steps to change the batteries in a flashlight and turn on the flashlight. The show airs just after midnight (12:05 a.m. Saturday EST and locally). The Purdue team beat teams from six other universities to win the national contest Saturday, April 9, at the Purdue Armory.

"We're really proud that teams from Purdue have won the national Rube Goldberg Machine contest each of the past three years," said Linda Katehi, Purdue's John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering.  "Having these students appear on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' is not only a great experience for them, but also a wonderful opportunity to showcase the talented students that Purdue attracts."

Purdue team members are Jason Downey, a junior in nuclear engineering from Idaville, Ind.; Nathan Flatt, a sophomore in mechanical engineering from Martinsville, Ind.; Greg Henning, a senior in aeronautics and astronautics from Indianapolis; Ryan Harold, a junior in mechanical engineering from Wheeling, Ill.; Kevin Hollingsworth, a senior in aeronautics and astronautics from Zionsville, Ind.; Shawn Jordan, a graduate student in computer engineering from Fort Wayne, Ind.; Devin Keeler, a senior in civil engineering from Randolph, N.J.; Maggie Little, a graduate student in the College of Technology from Crestview Hills, Ky.; Robert Mann, a sophomore in civil engineering from Fort Wayne, Ind.; Andy Mehl, a senior in electrical and computer engineering from Goshen, Ind.; and Drew Wischer, a sophomore in aviation technology from Manitowoc, Wis.

"The Rube Goldberg contest is the epitome of interdisciplinary teamwork," said Dennis R. Depew, dean of the College of Technology. "It brings together our students knowledge of technology, engineering and science in a way that no classroom can."

The competition, put on by Theta Tau Fraternity with support from the College of Engineering and College of Technology, pays homage to the late cartoonist Rube Goldberg, who specialized in drawing whimsical machines with complex mechanisms to perform simple tasks.

The student-built machines are judged on completion of the task, creativity, the number of steps involved and how well they embrace the complex inefficiency that exemplifies the Rube Goldberg spirit. Points are deducted if students assist the machine once it has started. Teams also are judged and awarded points based on the creative use of materials and themes related to the required task.

In previous contests, students' machines have been required to raise, secure and wave an American flag; 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.

This marks the second foray into late-night television for the contest. Two years ago the winning team from Purdue Theta Tau fraternity and Phi Sigma Rho sorority appeared on the "Late Show with David Letterman."

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