A 10-year-old at a Montessori school in Kansas City, Missouri has now been published in a leading theoretical chemistry journal. Why? Well, playing with molecule-building toys in a lesson, she happened to create one that no one had thought up before, one that could potentially “store energy, create a large explosion, or do something in between” (if it can be synthesized by a chemist).
Of course, the young girl, Clara Lazen, knew exactly what she was up to. She said that, in her design, the pieces “fit more together and they look better.”… A little more scientifically, she did realize that “all the holes have to be filled in for it to be stable.”
While Clara seems more intent on selling her discovery to the military for lots of money, I’m hoping that if it can ever actually be synthesized and used, it will be used in the energy storage field for broader, more peaceful use. Of course, it’s got a long way to go to get to any practical stage, but you have to start somewhere!
Anyway, here’s a video on this all:
As stated above, Clara got quite a helping hand in the discovery by her teacher Kenneth Boehr and Humboldt State University chemistry professor Robert Zoellner, one of Boehr’s college buddies. Zoellner is actually the lead author on the paper, published in Computational and Theoretical Chemistry in January, since he did the majority of the work analyzing the molecule (“tetranitratoxycarbon”) and writing up the paper, naturally. However, Clara and Boehr were actually coauthors on the paper, and that is no small accomplishment (especially at the age of 10!).
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