Fifth Grader's Random Molecule Creation Hailed As Scientific Discovery

By Meera Dolasia on February 7, 2012

Word Search

When 10-year old Clara Lazan was assigned a classroom science project, neither she nor her teacher Kenneth Boehr, would have guessed that her random creation would be hailed as a scientific discovery, worthy enough to be published in a scientific journal.

It all began when the fifth-grader who attends Border Star Montessori School in Kansas was given a molecule kit and asked to come up with a unique arrangement. Clara used her imagination to create a rather unusual combination of oxygen, nitrogen and carbon atoms - Something her science teacher had never come across before. 

Intrigued, he sent a picture to a close friend who also happens to be a computational chemist at California's Humboldt State University. Turns out that Professor Robert Zoeliner had never encountered this molecule arrangement before either.

In order to check if it had ever been done, he plugged the sequence into an online database that has chemistry related literature dating all the way back to 1904. To his surprise, he found only one paper and while it had the same formula, the arrangement was completely different.

While this accidental molecule, which has been called Tetranitratoxycarbon does not occur in nature, it could potentially be synthesized in a laboratory. In fact, since it contains the same atoms as nitroglycerin, the active ingredient in dynamite and rocket propellants, Professor Zoeliner believes it could be a new way to store energy or, create large explosions!

While excited about the potential of the molecule, Clara is more thrilled by the fact that she and her science teacher have been listed as co-authors in the research paper Professor Zoeliner had submitted to the scientific community for consideration. For how often does a 10-year old get a name in a science paper? Pretty cool!


Share by EmailShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TwitterShare on tumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on PinterestShare on RedditShare on Edmodo
to use your custom avatar.
  • sheaman
    sheamanThursday, October 30, 2014 at 6:09 pm
    I love how they can do this
    • sheaman
      sheamanWednesday, October 29, 2014 at 9:48 am
      It is so weird how they can do that.
      • sheaman
        sheamanWednesday, October 29, 2014 at 9:33 am
        This was so cool
        • eshreksionThursday, September 18, 2014 at 12:16 pm
          i would want money for the find but it is preety cool
          • eshreksionThursday, September 18, 2014 at 12:15 pm
            i want money
            • eshrecksion Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 12:14 pm
              i would want money
              • DUMBOTuesday, September 16, 2014 at 11:20 am
                THIS IS SO KOOL
                • KoolzTuesday, September 16, 2014 at 11:18 am
                  • ohwowThursday, September 11, 2014 at 3:44 pm
                    so cool!!!!
                    • yoThursday, September 4, 2014 at 7:52 pm
                      i wish i did that




                      Most Popular Articles

                      Video Of The Week - Are Lions Losing Their Edge?
                      World's Biggest Spider Weighs As Much As A Newborn Puppy
                      Just In Time For Halloween - A Real-Life Ghostbuster!
                      Veterans Day - Honoring All Who Served
                      Minecraft As A Mandatory Subject In School? Sweet!
                      Boo Mania Sweeps Over America (And The World)!
                      Are You Ready To 'Gangnam Style'?
                      Video Of The Week - If Frozen Was A Horror Movie . . .

                      Latest Comments


                      cool and i love baby seals
                      Crafty Seals Seek Follow Trackin...

                      figure skater wrote:

                      I am a figure skater too. So I k...
                      A champion at 14!

                      rissa wrote:

                      hey, this guy is so brave to do ...
                      Nik Wallenda's Back-To-Back Tigh...

                      garret wrote:

                      Life on the Red Planet?