Fact: A 10-year old girl discovered a new molecule in her chemistry lesson.
Anyone who did chemistry at school will remember those ball-and-stick molecule toys that teachers used to try and get everyone enthusiastic about covalent bonding. But 10 year old Clara Lazen decided she knew more than her teacher.
Clara managed to arrange black, red and green balls (representing carbon, oxygen and nitrogen) into a complicated arrangement that looks like the result of a bet on who could make the most excessive molecule before someone got shouted at. And yet, when she asked her teacher if it was real, he wasn’t sure.
Turned out she had discovered tetranitratoxycarbon – a molecule that doesn’t exist in nature, but could theoretically be made in a lab. Cue the youngest author of a paper in Computation and Theoretical Chemistry and everlasting jokes about being the teacher’s pet. While the molecule hasn’t actually been made yet, in theory it could be used to store energy or as an explosive similar to dynamite.
Funnily enough, now she’s more interested in biology and medicine. Chemistry? Completed it mate.
‘Another one of Mr Shaunak’s Little Bites of Science’
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