April Edition

Did you know that there are Rube Goldberg Invention competitions where College kids make Rube Goldberg Inventions? The teams display their inventions to the judges and then the winners go on to compete at the nationals!
This years theme was Zip the zipper and was held April 12 2014 in Columbus Ohio, with Purdue taking home first place.


Why does this competition take place? Who was Rube Goldberg? Where did he live? What made him so famous? To answer those questions we need to look at his life and motivations.

Who Was Rube Goldberg?

Rube Goldberg was born July 4TH, 1883 in San Francisco California. By the time he passed away on December 7TH, 1970 he was known as an inventor, sculptor, author, engineer and cartoonist. At a very young age Rube Goldberg enjoyed drawing and cartoons, but his parents tried to persuade him to follow a different career path that would make him enough money to go to college. Against his parents pleas Rube Goldberg continued to draw and make cartoons but he did go to college at the University of California in Berkeley. He married Irma Seeman October 17, 1916 and they had two children, George W. and Thomas. After graduating with his degree in Engineering, Rube went to work for the City of San Francisco Water and Sewers Department. It was this work that would inspire his “inventions”. Bored with the city job Rube moved on to work for the San Francisco Newspaper and eventually moved to New York to work for the Evening Mail. There he began drawing cartoons which were eventually picked up by newspapers throughout the nation. He was a founding member of the National Cartoonist Society and won a Pulitzer Prize. His career was not without controversy however during World War II his political cartoons drew great criticism and even death threats, he encouraged his children to change their last name for their own safety. (Both boys chose to use George as their surname) Though some may not have agreed with his politics he is largely considered a national treasure. Webster’s dictionary adopted “Rube Goldberg” as an adjective meaning “a comically involved complicated invention, laboriously contrived to perform a simple operation” In 1964 he retired to write books and sculpt. Reuben Garrett Lucius “Rube” Goldberg passed away at the age of 87, on April 26TH, 1990 Irma Goldberg passed away at the age of 95. Thomas and George’s children run the company “Rube Goldberg Inc” to maintain the Goldberg name. Today we remember Rube Goldberg as a man whose cartoons challenged us to look at our political leaders and poked fun at the waste created by doing simple things in the most difficult way.
rube sculpture
One Of Rube Goldberg’s sculptures
rube g book
One of Rube Goldberg’s books
Sculpture picture courtesy of: http://rogallery.com/Goldberg_Rube_Lucius/goldberg-sculpture-clown.html book picture courtesy of: http://designarchives.aiga.org/#/entries/%2Bid%3A873/_/detail/relevance/asc/0/7/873/chain-reaction-rube-goldberg–contemporary-art/1

In The Films

What do “BACK TO THE FUTURE PART 1 & 3“, “THE GOONIES“, “PEE WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE“, “EDWARD SCISSORHANDS“, and “The Way Things Go” all have in common? Rube Goldberg machines! In “BACK TO THE FUTURE PART 1” There is an automatic dog feeder which opens the film. In “THE GOONIES” there is a Rube Goldberg contraption which opens up the gate. “PEE WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE” and “BACK TO THE FUTURE PART 3” both use breakfast making machines. In “EDWARD SCISSORHANDS” there is a baking machine. “THE WAY THINGS GO” is a film all about the chain reaction of Rube Goldberg type machines. I bet if you watched movies looking for them, you might find Rube Goldberg machines hidden among some of your favorite films!




Pee Wee’s Rube Goldberg breakfast maker courtesy of: http: //pyxurz.blogspot.com/2011/10/pee-wees-big-adventure-page-1-of-6.html

Back to the Future picture courtesy of: http://fieldlines.org/2011/07/12/a-comparative-analysis-of-the-portrayal-of-scientists-in-popular-media-with-reference-to-80s-films/

Why Rube Goldberg?
I chose Rube Goldberg to start the series because I felt that his imagination was a great jumping off point for learning about science. While his inventions were used only in cartoon form he sparked generations of engineers to build and operate machines in his style. In a time when the United States is working to encourage more young people’s interest in STEM programs Mr. Goldberg is the epitome of creativity and imagination required to succeed in the field.

Challenge Time
Do you think you have what it takes to be like Rube Goldberg? If so I challenge you to build your own Rube Goldberg invention. Tell me what it does and how it works and don’t forget to take pictures! Send your entry to colorfulmindsscience@outlook.com and label it “Rube Goldberg invention”.

The invention must be your own idea. _________________________________________
You may have help from your parent(s), guardian(s), family and friends.
It must arrive by June 1st or it won’t be shown in the June issue.
You must say what your invention does and include a picture of your invention with your name and age
Your entry must be at least 10 steps and no animals may be harmed in the process.

See You Next Time!

Next time we’ll take a look at Bill Nye the Science Guy!

Here at COLORFUL MINDS our mission is to learn about those who encouraged science exploration through exciting and sometimes unconventional means. Our hope is that you will one day contribute too!


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