Iron Chef for engineers

Iron Chef for engineers
Mob Squad speeds to victory in engineering challenge

Rice News staff


It was the typical tale of the tortoise and the hare, but this time the hare won. Big time.

A team of Rice engineering undergraduates worked up a quick strategy and blew away the competition in the annual Global Forum Engineering Competition at Rice Memorial Center’s Grand Hall Feb. 17.


The Mob Squad – Konrad Stoick, Craig Wilson and Varun Juloori, all of Will Rice College, and Mike Taylor of Jones College – finished atop 15 teams in a kind of Iron Chef for engineers that involved sending a marble down a chute with a given set of materials. The freestanding chute had to be built as quickly as possible within 50 minutes; points were added for height up to 100 centimeters. Teams earned two points for every second the marble took to reach the bottom and more points for unused materials.

The Mob Squad took a calculated risk and finished their single-tube chute within five minutes by maximizing time points and sacrificing points on the marble drop. The team earned the top prize of $300 after spending most of the competition eating pizza and watching competitors build far more elaborate and often ingenious structures.

The challenge posed to engineering students worldwide by the Fluor Corporation was only revealed to them the night before competition.

The event was part of "Thank an Engineer" week at Rice, held during National Engineers Week, Feb. 14-20.


About Mike Williams

Mike Williams is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.