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A 10-Year-Old Accidentally Created in 2012 a New Molecule in Science Class: Tetranitratoxycarbon.


Invention of Tetranitratoxycarbon

“Small minds are concerned with the extraordinary, great minds with the ordinary.”

This saying goes well with the fact that we are going to discuss in this post further. It is well-known saying about children that their intelligent young minds are always at work. If we can learn from them and mend their emergent inquisitiveness and talent; what new concepts we could bring into the world!

The same thing happened with a ten year-old Clara Lazen, who was a 5th class student from Kansas City, Missouri. The incident took place somewhere in the year 2012, when Kenneth Boehr, a science teacher asked the students to construct simple molecules from stick and ball model. Clara assembled a composite structure and asked her teacher to about its authenticity.

As the teacher was unsure about it, Boehr sends the picture of that arrangement to his chemist friend, Robert Zoellner, a Professor in Chemistry at Humboldt State University. Zoellner tested the molecule against the ‘Chemical Abstracts’ record and verified that Lazen had built an exclusive and previously the unrecognized structure of Tetranitratoxycarbon.

Tetranitratoxycarbon, better known as tetrakis (nitratoxycarbon) methane is a theoretically-likely molecule, not yet combined, and unidentified to science until this ten-year-old Clara compiled it. She is recognized as co-author of a scientific paper on a molecule, published in Computational and Theoretical Chemistry.

Tetranitratoxycarbon is made up of oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon. This chemical doesn’t exist in nature but can be produced artificially in the lab. As an oxygen-rich composite of carbon and nitrogen, alike nitroglycerin, it is expected to have dangerous properties, but to be too thermally insecure for applied use.

There are numerous ways to find out new molecules and their properties, but doubtfully many are not more amusing or winning than a ten-year-old groping with some balls and sticks together.