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10-Year-Old Accidentally Creates New Molecule in Science Class
Popular Science ^ | February 3, 2012 | Dan Nosowitz & The Mary Sue via Gizmodo

Posted on 02/17/2012 3:59:47 AM PST by SunkenCiv

Clara Lazen is the discoverer of tetranitratoxycarbon, a molecule constructed of, obviously, oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon. It's got some interesting possible properties, ranging from use as an explosive to energy storage. Lazen is listed as the co-author of a recent paper on the molecule. But that's not what's so interesting and inspiring about this story. What's so unusual here is that Clara Lazen is a ten-year-old fifth-grader in Kansas City, MO.

Kenneth Boehr, Clara's science teacher, handed out the usual ball-and-stick models used to visualize simple molecules to his fifth-grade class. But Clara put the carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen atoms together in a particular complex way and asked Boehr if she'd made a real molecule. Boehr, to his surprise, wasn't sure. So he photographed the model and sent it over to a chemist friend at Humboldt State University who identified it as a wholly new but also wholly viable chemical.

The chemical has the same formula as one other in HSU's database, but the atoms are arranged differently, so it qualifies as a unique molecule. It doesn't exist in nature, so it'd have to be synthesized in a lab, which takes time and effort. So Boehr's friend, Robert Zoellner, wrote a paper on it instead, to be published in Computational and Theoretical Chemistry. Listed as a co-author: Clara Lazen.

Boehr says the discovery and subsequent publication has incited a new interest in science and chemistry at his school--and Clara seems particularly pleased, saying she's now much more interested in biology and medicine.

(Excerpt) Read more at popsci.com ...


TOPICS: Astronomy; Science
KEYWORDS: claralazen; newmolecule; robertzoellner; stringtheory; tetranitratoxycarbon

subtitle: Little Clara's tetranitratoxycarbon is brand new and explosive
Tetranitratoxycarbon Professor Robert Zoellner holds a model of tetranitratoxycarbon. He has a co-authorship on a paper about the new molecule--along with ten-year-old Clara Lazen. Humboldt State University

CAPTION

1 posted on 02/17/2012 3:59:58 AM PST by SunkenCiv
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To: AdmSmith; bvw; callisto; ckilmer; dandelion; ganeshpuri89; gobucks; KevinDavis; Las Vegas Dave; ...

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2 posted on 02/17/2012 4:02:00 AM PST by SunkenCiv (FReep this FReepathon!)
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To: SunkenCiv

Wow. Times have changed. When I was 10 we were excited by making cheezy volcanoes in class. This kid discovers a new molecule!


3 posted on 02/17/2012 4:08:10 AM PST by hal ogen (1st Amendment or Reeducation Camp?)
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To: SunkenCiv

But it hasn’t been synthesized yet. So all it is is a collection of plastic balls on sticks... and a Very Learned Paper.


4 posted on 02/17/2012 4:11:19 AM PST by samtheman
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To: samtheman
exactly, I can tinker-toy quite a number of things but the geometry of the structure can not "comply" with the physics.

That said, I'd really like for it to be synthesized, no matter how impractical it may be.

5 posted on 02/17/2012 4:19:34 AM PST by NativeSon ( Grease the floor with Crisco when I dance the Disco)
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To: SunkenCiv

So she randomly put together some sticks and balls and got lucky? That’s the way the article reads. I wonder how many molecules I discovered while playing with Tinker Toys over the years.


6 posted on 02/17/2012 4:30:38 AM PST by GnL
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To: SunkenCiv

She arranged them by color and appearance, repeating a pattern. She basically made a sculpture and got lucky it actually made something. She didn’t “discover” anything.
However, it may get her, in the long run, pursuing a better career than otherwise.


7 posted on 02/17/2012 4:42:35 AM PST by visualops (artlife.us)
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To: GnL
I wonder how many molecules I discovered while playing with Tinker Toys over the years.

I was always on the verge of a discovery until my dog would show up......

8 posted on 02/17/2012 4:50:50 AM PST by Hot Tabasco (The only solution to this primary is a shoot out! Last person standing picks the candidate)
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To: visualops

“She arranged them by color and appearance, repeating a pattern. She basically made a sculpture and got lucky it actually made something. She didn’t “discover” anything.”

First of all, the balls representing atoms can only accept as many “bonds” as the real thing - so anything you make with them (with all holes filled) is a valid molecule.

Second of all, a high percentage of discoveries have been by accident. Vulcanized rubber, saccharine, Coke, teflon, plastic, radioactivity, synthetic dye, and penicillin were all accidental discoveries. Sometimes it’s much better to be lucky than good.

So, don’t rain on this girl’s parade, she has something in common with many famous inventors. It’ll be interesting to see how useful this new substance is in practice.


9 posted on 02/17/2012 4:58:49 AM PST by PreciousLiberty (Real Hope - Santorum '12!!!)
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To: GnL
Hopey Changey positive Sci Psyops!
10 posted on 02/17/2012 5:00:15 AM PST by rawcatslyentist (BO Stinks!)
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To: GnL
So she randomly put together some sticks and balls and got lucky? That’s the way the article reads.

If you read James Watson's The Double Helix, that's exactly how they finally worked out the molecular structure of DNA. Lots of other people were trying it out conceptually, on paper, and in their heads... Watson and Crick had models made of the sub-structures, and they put them together in various ways until they figured out a way that worked.

11 posted on 02/17/2012 5:02:47 AM PST by Oberon (Big Brutha Be Watchin'.)
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To: SunkenCiv

The little girl needs to patent it fast!


12 posted on 02/17/2012 5:05:42 AM PST by Timber Rattler (Just say NO! to RINOS and the GOP-E)
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To: SunkenCiv
Clara Lazen is the discoverer of tetranitratoxycarbon, a molecule constructed of, obviously, oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon. It's got some interesting possible properties, ranging from use as an explosive...
DOMESTIC TERRORIST! DOMESTIC TERRORIST! DOMESTIC TERRORIST!
DHS already has the SWAT teams around her house. And Lon Horiuchi was called in just to 'take care' of her. After all, you can't trust these little Jihadists.

an aside: When I was freshman in HS I had a friend 'Ken' who loved, no lived, Chemistry and had a fair Chem lab set up at his house (He had acid burns all over his hands-yuck). His goal was to make Trinitrotoluene at home from chemicals he ordered by mail. I stopped going to his house after he told me that :-) btw, that stuff is better known as ... TNT.

13 posted on 02/17/2012 5:08:25 AM PST by Condor51 (Yo Hoffa, so you want to 'take out conservatives'. Well okay Jr - I'm your Huckleberry)
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To: PreciousLiberty
Yep, and DuPont used to fund "pure research," with the full expectation that accidental discoveries would be made and could be very profitable. It's how Wallace Carothers discovered Nylon.
14 posted on 02/17/2012 5:11:33 AM PST by Timber Rattler (Just say NO! to RINOS and the GOP-E)
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To: SunkenCiv

Carbon, nitrogen, oxygen...... everything you need to make a booooM!!


15 posted on 02/17/2012 5:19:42 AM PST by bert (K.E. N.P. +12 ..... Crucifixion is coming)
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To: PreciousLiberty
Oh, come on! The world is full of jealous wanna-be's and never-were's and the only thing they can do is denigrate the efforts and results of others.

And you call them on it! What about their self-esteem?

/Sarc

16 posted on 02/17/2012 5:45:28 AM PST by Redleg Duke ("Madison, Wisconsin is 30 square miles surrounded by reality.", L. S. Dryfus)
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To: Oberon

Why hasn’t a computer already figured out the different possibilities? I ask this question out of complete ignorance on the subject.


17 posted on 02/17/2012 6:03:53 AM PST by GnL
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To: Oberon

Not quite, a lady had made photographs (x-ray photographs) of DNA and this prompted Watson and Crick to ‘discover’ the ladder shape of the double helix. She, BTW, was not credited in their accolades.


18 posted on 02/17/2012 7:36:12 AM PST by MHGinTN (Being deceived can be cured.)
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To: bert

I suspect it is also a way to store electrical potential in a capacitor type device.


19 posted on 02/17/2012 7:37:56 AM PST by MHGinTN (Being deceived can be cured.)
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To: MHGinTN
Not quite, a lady had made photographs (x-ray photographs) of DNA and this prompted Watson and Crick to ‘discover’ the ladder shape of the double helix. She, BTW, was not credited in their accolades.

Yeah, you're right... and Linus Pauling didn't win the Nobel either, despite having developed a helix model of his own. The lady in question, Rosalind Franklin, was convinced that Watson and Crick were a couple of crackpots barking up the wrong tree.

Watson did, however, give her credit for her contribution in his book.

20 posted on 02/17/2012 8:43:36 AM PST by Oberon (Big Brutha Be Watchin'.)
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To: MHGinTN; Oberon
Not quite, a lady had made photographs (x-ray photographs) of DNA and this prompted Watson and Crick to ‘discover’ the ladder shape of the double helix. She, BTW, was not credited in their accolades.

As outlined in The Disappearing Spoon - by Sam Kean

21 posted on 02/17/2012 8:54:18 AM PST by pa_dweller (Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves:... Isa 1:23)
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To: null and void

Thought you might be interested in this article


22 posted on 02/17/2012 9:32:57 AM PST by Shimmer1 (No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.)
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To: samtheman

Checking this story out a bit — I predict this molecule will never be built, unless this girl or a lover of hers eventually does it. The chemistry and chemical intermediates required would be incredibly difficult to choreograph.

Ping me if it does, and I will find an appropriate thing to do like eat my hat, etc.


23 posted on 02/17/2012 10:21:23 AM PST by AFPhys ((Praying for our troops, our citizens, that the Bible and Freedom become basis of the US law again))
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To: SunkenCiv

The science teacher who handed out models of molecules is named Boehr?


24 posted on 02/17/2012 9:21:50 PM PST by Defiant (If there are infinite parallel universes, why Lord, am I living in the one with Obama as President?)
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To: Condor51

That explains something I saw once while driving — a sign by what I thought was some kind of natural feature, called “Ken Crater”. ;’)


25 posted on 02/18/2012 4:56:57 AM PST by SunkenCiv (FReep this FReepathon!)
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To: GnL

> So she randomly put together some sticks and balls and got lucky?

You know what they (the Darwinists) say? Put enough monkeys at the typewriter and, sooner or later, one of them will write a Shakespeare sonnet.


26 posted on 02/18/2012 5:02:57 AM PST by XEHRpa
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To: GnL

I should add that, contrary to the Darwinists, I do see intelligent design in what she did. As some have said, the balls she arranged could only fit together certain ways (bond angles, etc.)

Furthermore, 10 year olds are clever. Kudos to her.


27 posted on 02/18/2012 5:07:01 AM PST by XEHRpa
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To: Defiant

Maybe we should check his radius.


28 posted on 02/18/2012 7:33:08 AM PST by SunkenCiv (FReep this FReepathon!)
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To: MHGinTN
Rosalind Franklin was her name, and yes, her contributions were key in the discovery, she was barely credited.
29 posted on 02/18/2012 8:14:27 AM PST by Paradox (I want Obama defeated. Period.)
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