Chemistry Professor Robert Zoellner

Chemistry Professor Robert Zoellner

Admittedly, I did spend my childhood playing with explosives. But I certainly never had as much success as 10-year-old Clara Lazen (not pictured), who accidentally created a new energy storing molecule, tetranitratoxycarbon, that could be used as an explosive…

Using one of those molecular modeling sets we all messed with in school, Clara forged a combination of nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon atoms that stumped her fifth grade teacher. So he put the call out to Robert Zoellner at Humboldt State University to see if it was indeed a real molecule. His searches through an online chemical database returned no exact matches, which meant that Clara had in fact discovered a brand new molecule.

Tetranitratoxycarbon, as it’s called for short, uses the same combination of atoms as nitroglycerin, and also has a knack for storing energy. So if it were synthesized, it could be used to create a fairly hefty boom. As a result of her discovery, Clara, and her teacher Kenneth Boehr, are both listed as co-authors on a research paper published by Zoellner about the molecule. Also, I suspect she’s probably getting an A on that assignment.

Humboldt State University

via The Mary Sue