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Wednesday, 14 May 2014 00:00

Elkhorn grad Rebecca Russell to help stuff Jimmy Kimmel into a Rube Goldberg machine tonight

Written by  Jim Schenke/Purdue University

ELKHORN -- Rebecca Russell, a 2012 Elkhorn Area High School graduate and member of the Purdue University Society of Professional Engineers, will bring its national champion Rube Goldberg machine to Jimmy Kimmel Live tonight.

The team will demonstrate what happens when you invest 4,000 hours to build a machine to do something even a child can do -- zip a zipper.

The Purdue students rocked the Rube convention when they became the first team in more than three decades of national competition to put a human inside the machine, something Goldberg often did in his cartoons.

Look for that nerve-wracking role to be filled by Kimmel tonight. The show airs at 10:30 p.m. May 14, 2014 on ABC.

Inspired by the cartoonist's whimsical paper and ink designs, the Purdue machine goes through 100 clever, sometimes-humorous steps to achieve this year's end task.

(See video below)

The national competition was founded at Purdue in 1983 to open up to the world what had been an engineering fraternity grudge match on campus in the 1950s. PSPE holds at least three Guinness World Records for machine complexity and Purdue teams have won 8 of the last 16 national championships.

Some engineers eschew the competition as a silly countermand of the engineering principal of keep every solution as simple as possible.

But each cartoonish machine is a set of smaller machines that must be conceived, designed and prototyped from scratch in a team environment on deadline. Only a flawlessly running machine is likely to gain a championship.

As PSPE relearned this year, the machine must be inspirational, accessible and fun to gain the affection of fans and judges.

Team members include president-elect Jordan Vallejo of Los Angeles, president Adam Bahrainwala of Palantine, Illinois, captain David Cannon of Valparaiso, Indiana, Andrew Rawlins of Greenwood, Indiana, Ben Hilker of Edwardsville, Illinois, Rebecca Russell of Elkhorn, Wisconsin.


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