Apr 24, 2018 • By

Why this contest made pouring cereal complicated

Around 350 students from across the U.S. poured more than just their hearts out during the 30th Rube Goldberg Machine Contest at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Illinois, on April 21-22, 2018.

They also poured cereal, bowl after bowl, of many of our brands.   

The simple act of pouring a bowl of cereal, got pretty complex thanks to the students, from elementary school to college, taking on the task with engineering insights and plenty of personality to boot.  


Around 40 teams showcased intricately engineered machines inspired by the legacy of Rube Goldberg, the legendary and iconic Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and engineer who satirized machine design through his “invention cartoons.”  

“It’s funny, my grandfather knew nothing about these competitions. He never built the machines himself, he was a cartoonist and he drew the machines,” says Jennifer George, Rube Goldberg’s granddaughter and the legacy director of the contest. “But when my father started Rube Goldberg, Inc. and its competitions 30 years ago, it started as a small event with a few college teams and it has grown exponentially since then.”


In this video you get a look at the competition, and George shares how the contest is about more than just S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education programs.

Also, participant Rebekah Dodge, a junior at Ripley County Engineering Academy in Osgood, Indiana, talks about her team’s Cereal Factory machine.

You can hear much more about what it takes to compete at the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest in the latest episode of our podcast, including insight and advice from a NASA engineer who was part of the rebirth of the contest in the 1980s (and also was one of the judges this year).

Listen (28 min)

SHOW NOTES – Episode 33: April 26, 2018

Video: 2018 Rube Goldberg Machine Contest

Link: Rube Goldberg, Inc.

Press release: Hundreds Of Students From Across The Country Rise To The Challenge And Compete In The 30th Anniversary RUBE GOLDBERG MACHINE CONTEST

Link: CNET/Rube Goldberg machine champs pour cereal with clock, guitar

Video: 2018 Rube Goldberg Machine Contest Champions: Purdue PSPE

Video: Chino school wins national Rube Goldberg award

Link: Creating Rube Goldberg-inspired machines from cereal boxes

Video: Ultra Creative Rube Goldberg Cereal Boxes

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