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Author talks to Boeckman Middle School students on being creative

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education Farmington, 55024

Farmington Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

Look around a room. Everything in it was someone's idea, before it became an actual object. Someone had to think of it, someone had to see a need for it. And someone had to build it.


That's the lesson author Doug Cornelius brought to Boeckman Middle School last Friday during the program Lunch with an Inventor.

Cornelius is the author of, "Good News - I Failed: A Story of Inventing in Minnesota." In it, he introduces Minnesota's inventors, and their inventions - including the inventions of his father.

His father, Richard Cornelius, was inducted into the Minnesota Inventor's Hall of Fame in 1980 because he was credited for 180 patents. One of Richard Cornelius' most notable inventions was the soda pop dispenser seen in many fast-food restaurants.

Doug Cornelius was also an inventor. He came up with a tool to help clean the filters in aquariums. However, his invention wasn't as successful as those of his father. Though it worked well, his invention was a failure, because it was too costly to produce.

But therein is Cornelius' point: without trying, you don't know if you will succeed or fail. And while there are many gadgets and tools in this world that are product of success, it's the failures that help teach lessons.

"I'm trying to inspire kids. They have ideas and they should not be afraid to try. They learn more from their failures than their successes," Cornelius said. "My own invention was a failure, but I learned from it so the next time I try, I will keep the market in mind."

For his presentation, Cornelius brought a number of tools and items that were products of Minnesota inventors. He also had a slide show that showed some of the bigger items - like a gyroscope or waterskis - that were also invented by Minnesotans. Many of the items are described in his book, which was also for sale at the school.