A week’s worth of brainstorming, collaboration, and creative ingenuity put to the test within a 90-second timeframe: that’s the thrill of the annual Alumni Cup competition, hosted by the Clark School’s Engineering Alumni Network each February to celebrate National Engineers Week.
On February 21, screams filled the Jeong H. Kim Engineering Building atrium from spectators and teams in the Rube Goldberg-inspired competition, which this year saw all eight departments devise highly complex machines designed to dunk a mini basketball.
Popping balloons, plates of fire, rolling marbles, falling dominoes, whirling fans, spinning robots, and falling computer heatsinks were just a few of the required 20 energy transfers that teams employed in their contraptions.
So what about next year? While the theme and parameters will remain secret until a week prior to the 2021 competition, Shannon Donaldson—co-captain of the 2020 winning materials science team—advises that future competitors “don’t discount aesthetics, and make sure to put effort into their reports.” And while every team hopes for the win in 2021, materials science has their eye on a winning streak.