"Rubefest" shows off maximum effort for minimum results

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Students crowded into Senator Square on Friday to watch bubbles blow.

"I think it's cool," said Steven Miller, junior. "I can't wait until next year when I'm in the class."

It was Carson High School's annual physics fair - "Rubefest" - in which physics students create complex mechanisms to carry out a simple task.

The idea is based on Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Rube Goldberg's work.

Goldberg, who died in 1970, was known for the elaborate contraptions in his cartoons, which he described as symbols of man's capacity for exerting maximum effort to accomplish minimal results.

"It has a lot to do with our laws of motion. It takes into account a lot of the things we've talked about in our class," said physics teacher Mark Johnson. "It' a way of taking everything we've talked about and jamming it into one project."

Physics students organized themselves into groups and each group designed a mechanism with various steps that eventually blew bubbles in the end.

One trio of girls created a project called, "Bubbles, the Farting Monkey."

"It's creative," said Adrienne Gardner, group member, of the idea.

The mechanism operated by dropping a marble into the mouth of a monkey mask. The marble dropped through a series of devices and ended when a fan blew bubbles from a monkey's behind, made from papier-mache.

"I thought it was a lot of fun but also kind of stressful because we really wanted it to work," said Rachel Pesis, another member of the group. "It's all right now because everything came together."

It did not always come together for everyone, however.

"It's a total disappointment (when it doesn't work) because you worked so hard to set it up," said Alisha Kaskie, junior. "It's such a trial-and-error thing."

Kaskie, a member of the drama club, worked in a group with other drama club members to create the "Rube of Performing Arts," in which a marble triggered a series of dominoes to finally blow bubbles.

The marble traveled through cardboard cutouts representing every play the drama club has put on throughout the year.

Although it did not work perfectly every time, members rejoiced when it did.

"It's like the best feeling in the world when it works," said Dianna Paul, a senior who high-fived her teammate, Kaskie, when the mechanism worked. "It's amazing."

The drama club was not the only group to make their personal interests apparent in the construction of their project.

A group of athletes created a mechanism in which a ball, pitched from a pitching machine, hit a cardboard cut-out of a man which, in turn, knocked a bowling ball off of a table into a bucket that lifted a board connected to a pulley system that turned on an air hose which blew bubbles in a tub of soapy water.

"Bigger is better," said group member Jordan Payette, 18. "We went with speed and power."

Johnson said he thought the fair was successful.

"I think it's going pretty darn well," he said. "They have a lot of good projects."

Students were graded on the projects and prizes were given in various categories.

Faculty and former physics students were the judges.


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