Mixing science and religion can be problematic, but not for robotics and mechanical engineering students at the Technion, Israel’s technical university in Haifa. Though the original Hanukkah story involves Greeks, not geeks, the Technion technologists devised a high-tech method of carrying out the holiday’s central ritual, lighting the eight candles on the menorah. Taking its inspiration from a noted 20th century Jewish technological innovator, Reuben Lucius Goldberg, their method uses a robot assisted by helium balloons, Lego blocks, nitroglycerin and assorted other materials. You can see a demonstration, complete with musical accompaniment, here, or get details of the design here. The 8-day holiday, by the way, starts Saturday evening, 8 December.
A hat tip to my friend, science journalist Joel Shurkin, for alerting Science Careers to this breaking story.