While the prototypical Caltech prank resembles a 1975 gag where some students used a computer to win a car from McDonald’s, the most famous pranks revolve around the Rose Bowl. Since no Caltech team will ever play in the Rose Bowl, the annual game has been a constant target. In 1984, Caltech students hacked into the Rose Bowl scoreboard to read “Caltech 31, MIT 9”. However, the nerdiest prank in Caltech history involved former student Bruce Montgomery inscribing Caltech fraternity jokes onto the Voyager spacecrafts, ensuring Caltech pranks will one day reach the farthest reaches of the galaxy.
At left, two of Caltech's infamous name-in-lights pranks. In 1961, 30 million Rose Bowl viewers were stunned when the Washington Huskies unwittingly began cheering the small, neighboring technical school. Ten years later, pulled a similar prank on the Hollywood sign.