At Argonne's 2013 Rube Goldberg Contest, each team built a machine that took 20 steps to hammer a nail.LEMONT, IL — Bundle up! Chicago-area high school students will showcase a zany assortment of machines that can “Zip a Zipper” in 20 or more steps at this year’s 19th annual Rube Goldberg Machine Contest. The event is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory and Chicago Children’s Museum; the contest kicks off Friday, February 21st at 10:30 a.m. in the Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier.

Schools registered for this year’s contest are:

  • Chicago Christian High School, Palos Heights
  • Benet Academy
  • Hoffman Estates High School, Hoffman Estates (two teams)
  • Joliet Central High School, Joliet (two teams)
  • Jones College Prep
  • Reavis High School
  • Luther College Prep
  • Maine Township High School South, Park Ridge (two teams)

The winning team will receive a traveling trophy to display until the 2015 contest and a tour of Argonne, which will include a visit to the Advanced Photon Source and lunch with Argonne scientists. The first-place team also will have the opportunity to demonstrate its winning machine at Argonne on the day of the tour.

In addition, each team member and the team’s faculty advisor will receive an Argonne National Laboratory laptop backpack and a Rube Goldberg Machine Contest t-shirt. The first-place team will also advance to the National Rube Goldberg High School competition on Saturday, April 5th, at Waukesha County Technical College in Pewaukee, WI.

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

Third-place team members and their faculty advisor will receive Rube Goldberg Machine Contest t-shirts.

An award will also be presented to the machine that wins the People’s Choice Award, to be chosen by popular vote of those attending the contest. 

The Rube Goldberg machine contest is 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. The competition provides high school students with the opportunity to apply all areas of science and engineering in an hands on learning environment and to encourage them to make science and engineering part of their future academic and professional careers.

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

Argonne's Division of Communications, Education and Public Affairs sponsors the February 21st event in collaboration with Chicago Children’s Museum and the National Rube Goldberg Machine Contest. The event is licensed by Rube Goldberg, Inc.

“Rube Goldberg” is a registered trademark and copyright of Rube Goldberg, Inc., which can be reached, at (203) 227-0818, by e-mail at or via their Web site.

Chicago Children’s Museum’s mission is to create a community where play and learning connect. For more information about Chicago Children’s Museum, call (312) 527-1000 or visit their website.

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America's scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.