DTM Continues Two-year Winning Streak as World Mud Cup Champions

Time Jones in action during the 2019 BBR Mud Cup
Tim Jones, captain of the DTM Dynamos (the winning team), in action against the GL Pistons in the 2019 BBR Mud Cup. Photo Credit: Alycia Alexander
Thursday, November 07, 2019 

On October 18, 2019, the DTM Dynamos faced the GL Pistons in the 23rd World Mud Cup. After a remarkable show of skill from both of the campus' historic teams, the Dynamos solidified their status as soccer champions for the second year in a row with a 2-1 win over the Pistons. 

Both teams pose for a  group photo.

The DTM Dynamos pose for a post-game photo with the GL Pistons. Image Source: Steve Shirey


Tim Jones, captain of the DTM Dynamos and Carnegie Postdoctoral Fellow, led his team to victory. After a dramatic, last-minute win, Jones offered the following to his teammates, "I'm proud of the Dynamos for keeping their cool when we were down and working together to find the decisive goal in the final minutes of the game.” 

A History of Sportsmanship

The history of the match runs deep on Carnegie Science's Broad Branch Road campus. It all began in 1976 with a tongue-in-cheek letter from the Geophysical Laboratory, which at the time was located fewer than two miles away on Upton Street. Naming their team the "Laboratory Pistons," they challenged the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism to the first-official interdepartmental soccer match. Responding with a letter of their own (and putting post-game drinks on the line), DTM chose their team name–the "DTM Dynamics.” The rest, as they say, is history.



 On behalf of the Geophysical Laboratory soccer team, otherwise known as the "Laboratory Pistons", the undersigned, challenge the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism to a game of soccer. It is requested that a representative for the DTM soccer team contact the representatives of the Pistons, so that the venue of the anticipated match may be arranged. Int he event that no word has been received by 12 noon, Monday May 10, 1976, it will be assumed that the superior talent of the Pistons has been recognized, and that the challenge has been declined.

The sporting soccer rivalry was sparked on May 3, 1976, with this letter from the Geophysical Laboratory to the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism. At the time, the two departments were located a few miles apart.

We, the members of the "DTM Dynamics" A-Team, are amused by the brash effrontery of the Laboratory Pistons in challenging us to a game of football ("soccer" in the vernacular of the novitiates). Assuming this to be a legitimate challenge, however, we accept with pleasure. If you are able to summon the courage to appear on the same playing field as the "Dynamos" we suggest that the match be played on a neutral field at the 16th and Kennedy Streets at a time to be mutually agreed upon.

The DTM Dynamics accepted the offer and put “postgame refreshments” on the line. Read the GL letter and the DTM response

The First “World Mud Cup” 

After the two departments were co-located to the Broad Branch Road campus in 1990, the friendly rivalry heated up. The competition eventually precipitated the creation of the first "World Mud Cup” in 1996, as coined by Carnegie Science reporter, Stony Kornblower. Kornblower, who is in no way related to Alan Boss, is also responsible for the creation of the physical trophy. 

Kornblower reflects on the moment he constructed the cup, stating, “I found a silver-plated pitcher that my wife had picked up at a yard sale and which she did not want to keep. I inscribed "World Mud Cup" on the pitcher with a magic marker for presentation to the winning team at the next match. This has been the tradition ever since.”

From left to right: Traditionally, the winning team will drink from the historic mud cup, pictured here. 

The Mud Cup is now displayed proudly in the office of DTM Director, Rick Carlson, who commented, “Though we are disappointed that the Mud Cup has not yet attracted the level of attention that it deserves by recruiters for the World Cup, perhaps because interviews with team members too quickly switch from soccer to discussions of Gruneisen parameters and exoplanet radial velocities, the level of enthusiasm and competition in the Mud Cup is a delight to watch.” 

He continued, “The comradery the event inspires is its best outcome. We look forward to future attempts by the Pistons to liberate the Mud Cup from the overwhelming force of the Dynamos.”

As for Tim Jones, “It's not about competing with another part of Carnegie. It's an experience that brings us together as a whole and distinguishes Carnegie from other workplaces. We're all here for science but Mud Cup, among other events on campus, adds to the fun of it all!”