Professor Julius Sumner Miller

Professor Julius Sumner Miller September 20, 2017

I never heard of this guy until today:

but he appears to have been a magnificent Feynmanesque character.

Miller’s first television appearance in Australia was on Bob Sanders People in 1963. In an improvised physics demonstration, he attempted to drive a drinking straw through a raw potato. A paper straw normally does not have sufficient strength but if one pinches the end, the trapped air acts as a piston, easily piercing the potato. For the first time in his career he could not get this to work, and he loudly exclaimed “Australian straws ain’t worth a damn!”. The next morning, Miller arrived at his Sydney University laboratory to find one million drinking straws on the floor with a telegram reading “You might find one of these fitting your requirements”. He later stated “I sat amongst the straws with straws stuck in my hair and ears. But clearly I had made a mistake. I should have said: ‘Australian potatoes ain’t worth a damn’, and I’d have cornered the potato market!”

I love guys like this.

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