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This Day in History

Born on this day

Monday, May 17, 1909. :   Professor Julius Sumner Miller is born.

     Julius Sumner Miller, the man who popularised science with children, was born on 17 May 1909. Sumner Miller studied under Albert Einstein, but was best known for his work on children's television programs, being Disney's "Professor Wonderful" on The Mickey Mouse Club and in Canada, the "mad professor" on The Hilarious House of Frightenstein. In Australia, Sumner Miller's catchphrase was "Why is it so?", and this was also the title of his show which was broadcast from 1963 to 1986. In "Why Is It So?", he piqued children's (and adults') curiosity by investigating common questions by using common household equipment to conduct experiments.

One of Sumner Miller's more popular experiments showed how air pressure could exert sufficient force on a boiled egg (with shell removed) to push it into a milk bottle which had an opening of lesser circumference than that of the egg. Unfortunately, Sumner Miller omitted information on how to then remove the egg: subsequently, milk factories all over Australia encountered the problem of having to scrap returned milk bottles with boiled eggs inside.

Sumner Miller died of leukaemia on 14 April 1987. Information on how to remove the boiled egg can be found at:
http://physics.about.com/cs/airandfluidexp/a/210603.htm

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