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VALLEY FOCUS | Northridge

Spilled Milk Solution Is a Winner for Boy

April 16, 1998|EDWARD M. YOON

Last year, 9-year-old Timothy Shin of North Hills had two problems.

At school, he needed to come up with an idea for his science project. At home, he had a problem of spilling milk whenever he attempted to pour it from a heavy one-gallon plastic jug into his glass.

The inventive second-grader at Balboa Gifted Magnet in Northridge decided to kill two birds with one stone by creating an Automatic Milk Dispenser, a device that combines a common household suction pump, a tube and a stopper.

"You push down on the pump and milk comes through a tube," Timothy said. "I don't spill my milk anymore."

His project not only enabled him to dispense milk into his glass without spilling but also garnered him the second-place prize in the 15th International Invention Convention, sponsored by Silver Burdett Ginn and Prentice Hall School, divisions of the Simon & Schuster publishing company.

The competition, which began earlier this year, honors the most talented inventors in grades one through nine in the United States and American schools overseas.

Timothy's mother, Luz Shin, a math instructor at Valley College in Valley Glen, was first to be notified when officials from Simon & Schuster left a message on her office answering machine April 2, when the winners were announced.

"We are very pleased, but at the same time amused because it was so totally unexpected," said Peter Shin, Timothy's father.

For his efforts, Timothy will be one of 46 students to receive a Grand Patent Award during the National Science Teachers Assn. Convention in Las Vegas on Friday.

He will also receive a $500 U.S. savings bond as part of his second-place prize in his age bracket. First-place finishers will receive a Macintosh Power Mac 6500 computer system.

As for earning future royalties on his invention, Timothy said that is not a concern.

"This milk thing is just a hobby," he said. "When I grow up, I want to be a scientist that studies the ocean floor."

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