Ten-Year-Old Fifth Grader Discovers New Molecule

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posted on Feb, 3 2012 @ 04:47 PM
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Now that Clara Lazen of Kansas City, Mo. has been published in a major chemistry journal, she can set her sights on a new goal: graduating elementary school. How did she do it? The 10-year-old was experimenting with a molecule-building toy during a class assignment when she stumbled upon an unusual-looking molecule. Her intrigued teacher, Kenneth Boehr, photographed it and sent it to his college buddy Robert Zoellner, a chemistry professor at Humboldt State University in California. Zoellner found that the simple but specific chemical had never been seen before. He published a paper, and Clara and Boehr were listed as co-authors. Reports vary on how the discovery actually went down next. The university's statement said she "randomly arranged" the toy atoms. But in the video above Clara seems to say that her design was deliberate, that the pieces "fit more together and ... look better - all the holes have to be filled in for it to be stable."





It's interesting how some people, no matter how young, seem to have a knack for understanding certain concepts, whether they fully realize the science behind it or not. It doesn't seem to be a random finding, rather there seems to be a method to the madness--perhaps an understanding encoded in our genes.


(Source)




posted on Feb, 3 2012 @ 04:53 PM
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Oh good! Sell it to the military! They need more explosives. We need to kill ourselves a lot faster than we've been managing so far.
This little girl may be the beginning to our end.



posted on Feb, 3 2012 @ 04:55 PM
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When I was 11 I figured out how to record Nintendo games on VCR tapes, use to fool my friends a lot with that one... I never got any acknowledgement.

Did you hear what she said near the end?
"I can sell this to the military for money..."

Got to love the priorities, bombs 1st, clean food and water for the hungry...last. I'm sure she'll be working for Monsanto by age 12.



posted on Feb, 3 2012 @ 05:00 PM
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Isn't that crazy, they go right to explosives....




There's that tv show "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?"

Look what they're teaching them these days!!



posted on Feb, 3 2012 @ 06:33 PM
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reply to post by v1rtu0s0
 


How conditioned is she? That's brain washing at it's finest........this world is soooo screwed!
edit on 3-2-2012 by SecuritySeeker because: (no reason given)
edit on 3-2-2012 by SecuritySeeker because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 3 2012 @ 06:39 PM
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That's pretty cool.

But what's not cool is wanting to use it for blowing things up. Disappointing.



posted on Feb, 3 2012 @ 06:43 PM
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First of all: everyone is going to see this story and immediately start talking about this kid being conditioned? Really?
---------------

Now for my main comments:

I'm a teacher, and I work with gifted kids the same age as this kid. I hate to rain on her parade, but she didn't "discover" anything. She made a model, and the chemistry professor they sent the photo to said he's never seen it before, so he published it. They haven't even synthesized it (made it) yet. She didn't "discover" anything.

As I said, I hate to rain on her parade, but she made a symmetrical structure with a model kit. Not exactly computational chemistry. More like tinker toys to me.

The good news is that she is now excited about chemistry. That's the really good part to this story.
edit on 3-2-2012 by GeorgiaGirl because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 3 2012 @ 07:09 PM
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reply to post by GeorgiaGirl
 


If she crafted a model of a theoretical molecule that has never been conceptualized before, then yes, she did discover a new molecule. If it was just a random bunch of atoms that have no meaning, then it would be tinker toys, but the fact is, the chemistry professor said it is possibly a high energy compound.

Here's his publication: www.sciencedirect.com...

You were saying?



posted on Feb, 3 2012 @ 07:24 PM
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Originally posted by OrphenFire
reply to post by GeorgiaGirl
 


If she crafted a model of a theoretical molecule that has never been conceptualized before, then yes, she did discover a new molecule. If it was just a random bunch of atoms that have no meaning, then it would be tinker toys, but the fact is, the chemistry professor said it is possibly a high energy compound.

Here's his publication: www.sciencedirect.com...

You were saying?


Well, my husband the chemistry professor with a PhD in medicinal chemistry agrees with me.

*She* didn't discover it. She made a cool model. She had no idea what she was building. The chemistry professor her teacher sent the photo to did all of the science here.

Look, I agree it's cool that she is listed on his publication. I also think it's cool that she is now excited about chemistry. She's clearly bright. I hope she decides to pursue chemistry as she goes through school.
edit on 3-2-2012 by GeorgiaGirl because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 3 2012 @ 07:31 PM
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reply to post by GeorgiaGirl
 


Of course she didn't do any scientific reasoning in her construction of the model, but that's like saying a kid who discovers an ancient dinosaur bone and doesn't know what he's found, didn't actually discover it. The paleontologist who later confirms that it's a T-Rex leg discovered it.
edit on 2/3/2012 by OrphenFire because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 3 2012 @ 07:37 PM
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Originally posted by OrphenFire
reply to post by GeorgiaGirl
 


Of course she didn't do any scientific reasoning in her construction of the model, but that's like saying a kid who discovers an ancient dinosaur bone and doesn't know what he's found, didn't actually discover it. The paleontologist who later confirms that it's a T-Rex leg discovered it.
edit on 2/3/2012 by OrphenFire because: (no reason given)


With all due respect, I think discovering a dino bone is a different type of discovery. It exists, and was found. I would agree with you--THAT would be a discovery. However, the molecule she inadvertently built does *not* exist, and has, in fact, never been made.



posted on Feb, 3 2012 @ 07:50 PM
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We'll just have to agree to disagree, then.



posted on Feb, 3 2012 @ 08:06 PM
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reply to post by v1rtu0s0
 


A test was done sometime back where a professor asked a classroom full of master engineering students and a classroom full of 5th graders the same question.

How can you fit an adult elephant into this full size refridgerator.

The Engineering students all came up with complex forumlaes, layouts / designs, none of which were the right answer.

The calssroom of 5th graders all came to the same, and right conclusion.

An adult size elephant cannot fit into a full size refridgerator.

As adults we have a tendency to make things overly complex beause we assume it has to be that way. As children we arent completely brainwashed to view things in that manner and will see things adults miss because its simple and not complex.

Its like NASA and the Soviet Space agency...

NASA spends millions to develop a pen that will write in space....

The Soviet Union used a pencil...

cool article though.. S and F
edit on 3-2-2012 by Xcathdra because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 3 2012 @ 08:16 PM
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reply to post by GeorgiaGirl
 


But, it CAN exist. Now thanks to her discovery



posted on Feb, 3 2012 @ 08:26 PM
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Sounds like some luck involved.

Kid was given a kit, likely following some basic rules the instructor had given (what chemicals can bind to what by valence and such - fairly basic), and then goes "Oh neato, I can make this tetrahedron thingy!" (She probably wasn't the first kid to do that, given this type of assignment. However, she probably was the first where the teacher thought more about what she did.)

The other stuff didn't seem to happen until the teacher followed up on it with a chemist friend or two. And then things went from there.

Given what I remember from those kind of kits, the middle is a tetrahedral form of carbon, bonded to hydrogens, which are then bonded to nitrogen at the very corners. Something like C5H12N4, although it's been a long while since I've done chemistry classes.

Because it's a hydrocarbon with nitrogen attached, the potential for use in explosive substances should be obvious enough. Just compare it to the molecules of other explosive substances.

----
Edit

Oh those are oxygens, not hydrogens... They must be using a different color code in their kit than the one I remember. (Like I said, it's been years.) One of the above posts gives out better details. Also the oxygen being in there with the nitrogen even makes it better at being potentially explody stuff.
edit on 3-2-2012 by pauljs75 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 3 2012 @ 08:53 PM
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Originally posted by GeorgiaGirl

Originally posted by OrphenFire
reply to post by GeorgiaGirl
 


Of course she didn't do any scientific reasoning in her construction of the model, but that's like saying a kid who discovers an ancient dinosaur bone and doesn't know what he's found, didn't actually discover it. The paleontologist who later confirms that it's a T-Rex leg discovered it.
edit on 2/3/2012 by OrphenFire because: (no reason given)


With all due respect, I think discovering a dino bone is a different type of discovery. It exists, and was found. I would agree with you--THAT would be a discovery. However, the molecule she inadvertently built does *not* exist, and has, in fact, never been made.


How do you really know that? You don't. All you know is the whole of human knowledge didn't know about it till now. That doesn't mean this molecule doesn't exist or never existed. I believe if it is a stable molecule it HAS to exist somewhere.

I'd like to know exactly what this toy was she was playing with. Perhaps we should all grab a virtual atom. molecule app and start throwing stuff around. Perhaps we too could " discover" tons of new molecules.



posted on Feb, 3 2012 @ 08:53 PM
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Originally posted by GeorgiaGirl

Originally posted by OrphenFire
reply to post by GeorgiaGirl
 


If she crafted a model of a theoretical molecule that has never been conceptualized before, then yes, she did discover a new molecule. If it was just a random bunch of atoms that have no meaning, then it would be tinker toys, but the fact is, the chemistry professor said it is possibly a high energy compound.

Here's his publication: www.sciencedirect.com...

You were saying?


Well, my husband the chemistry professor with a PhD in medicinal chemistry agrees with me.

*She* didn't discover it. She made a cool model. She had no idea what she was building. The chemistry professor her teacher sent the photo to did all of the science here.

Look, I agree it's cool that she is listed on his publication. I also think it's cool that she is now excited about chemistry. She's clearly bright. I hope she decides to pursue chemistry as she goes through school.
edit on 3-2-2012 by GeorgiaGirl because: (no reason given)


Well, I was going to just comment on the article itself until I read your two "gems' of a post and so I will add you and your PHD wielding husband to the staff of the university as well.

The most amazing thing to me about this story is all the egg heads with huge egos, that had their egos apparently bruised, by a ten year old girl discovering a new molecule. And yes she did discover it and in fact would still have discovered it even if the slanderous accusations of the university, ie "she just randomly threw some stuff together."were true, which they aren't, because if she was randomly throwing it together, her model would have been just that; random. The reason she would have still discovered it is because we don't strip the term of discovery from adult and educated scientist, even when they "accidentally" discover something. The history of science is filled with scientists who set out to do one thing, fail and yet through their accident they often discover something else.

Here just for you I include a link to a NOVA article listing accidental discoveries in science, I guess every scientist they mention should have the word discovery jealously ripped from them as well.

wow accidental "discoveries"

The fact is the girl did discover something and I have a feeling that what is really bruising all the eggheads egos is that they know if and I do say if, the molecule is synthesized in the future and turns out profitable this girl might get a Nobel Prize or even some royalties and she will be able to live the good life while they continue to slave away in their ivory towers.

And the thing that saddens me is people like you and the university, instead of actually encouraging this girl to continue studying science might in fact just turn her off to it. I mean put yourself in her shoes, she just did something really cool and yet, so many adult eggheads are turning around saying "meh nice kid, but you didn't really do anything." And if you are a teacher, then your probably one of the reasons US education is a joke. Better to let the kids be taught by computers probably, far cheaper anyway and frankly probably couldn't be worse as far as result.


edit on 3-2-2012 by prisoneronashipoffools because: typos
edit on 3-2-2012 by prisoneronashipoffools because: addition



posted on Feb, 3 2012 @ 09:04 PM
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Originally posted by prisoneronashipoffools

And the thing that saddens me is people like you and the university, instead of actually encouraging this girl to continue studying science might in fact just turn her off to it.


edit on 3-2-2012 by prisoneronashipoffools because: typos
edit on 3-2-2012 by prisoneronashipoffools because: addition


Here's what's super-irritating: in EVERY one of my posts, I talked about how great it is that this girl is now excited about Chemistry. Did you not see that????

The title of this thread is misleading. I was pointing that out. She didn't discover it.

And by the way--I'm a fantastic teacher, and great at motivating gifted students to want to succeed. I love my job, and I love what these kids are capable of. But I also recognize what they are *not* capable of at their age.


Edit to add:


if, the molecule is synthesized in the future and turns out profitable this girl might get a Nobel Prize or even some royalties

Are you kidding???? A Nobel Prize???? And unless she has patented it, which it doesn't look like they did before it was published, she is S.O.L. That's the way this kind of stuff works....you have to patent it BEFORE you publish it. Once you publish it, the cat's out of the bag.
edit on 3-2-2012 by GeorgiaGirl because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 3 2012 @ 09:07 PM
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Originally posted by JohnPhoenix

Originally posted by GeorgiaGirl

Originally posted by OrphenFire
reply to post by GeorgiaGirl
 


Of course she didn't do any scientific reasoning in her construction of the model, but that's like saying a kid who discovers an ancient dinosaur bone and doesn't know what he's found, didn't actually discover it. The paleontologist who later confirms that it's a T-Rex leg discovered it.
edit on 2/3/2012 by OrphenFire because: (no reason given)


With all due respect, I think discovering a dino bone is a different type of discovery. It exists, and was found. I would agree with you--THAT would be a discovery. However, the molecule she inadvertently built does *not* exist, and has, in fact, never been made.


How do you really know that? You don't. All you know is the whole of human knowledge didn't know about it till now. That doesn't mean this molecule doesn't exist or never existed. I believe if it is a stable molecule it HAS to exist somewhere.

I'd like to know exactly what this toy was she was playing with. Perhaps we should all grab a virtual atom. molecule app and start throwing stuff around. Perhaps we too could " discover" tons of new molecules.
e

Well, the chemistry professor who published the paper said that the next step is to synthesize it. That indicates to me that it hasn't been done before.

And yes, I DO think that we could "discover" tons of new molecules....actually we should call them "potential" molecules....if we played with these kits. Heck, 10 year olds would probably be better at it than you or I would. But without a trained chemist, who can tell us if what we have modeled is feasible, we have discovered exactly jack squat.



posted on Feb, 3 2012 @ 09:10 PM
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Originally posted by pauljs75
Sounds like some luck involved.

Kid was given a kit, likely following some basic rules the instructor had given (what chemicals can bind to what by valence and such - fairly basic), and then goes "Oh neato, I can make this tetrahedron thingy!" (She probably wasn't the first kid to do that, given this type of assignment. However, she probably was the first where the teacher thought more about what she did.)

The other stuff didn't seem to happen until the teacher followed up on it with a chemist friend or two. And then things went from there.

Given what I remember from those kind of kits, the middle is a tetrahedral form of carbon, bonded to hydrogens, which are then bonded to nitrogen at the very corners. Something like C5H12N4, although it's been a long while since I've done chemistry classes.

Because it's a hydrocarbon with nitrogen attached, the potential for use in explosive substances should be obvious enough. Just compare it to the molecules of other explosive substances.


So why isn't everyone accusing YOU of being an egomaniac who wants to strip the kid of her fantastic discovery????


I totally agree with your analysis, if you couldn't tell...





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