Clara Lazen, 10, may be the youngest in history to discover a new molecule
Clara Lazen, a 10-year-old girl from Missouri, may be the youngest in history to discover a new molecule after a brief introduction on molecular formation by her middle school science teacher.
Clara Lazen of Kansas City was piecing together over-sized atoms from an educational model in her Border Star Montessori School classroom when she composed something her teacher had never seen before.
“I just saw that these go together more,” Clara Lazen told Fox4 while holding up her molecule’s model.
“Like, they fit more together and they look better. And all the holes have to be filled in for it to be stable.”
When Clara Lazen showed it to her teacher Ken Boehr, he in turn reached out to a friend and PhD chemistry professor at Humboldt State University in Arcata California for advice.
Sure enough, after completing a computer analysis on her formation, the University professor Dr. Robert Zoellner turned back to the two to say it looked real, just previously unheard of.
Today Clara Lazen’s molecule is the highlight of a scientific publication in a major theoretical chemistry journal by Dr. Robert Zoellner which features her name as well as her teacher’s as co-authors.
“I have never partnered with a middle school student, a 10 or 11 year old student. Never happened before,” Dr. Robert Zoellner told Fox4.
What remains to be seen however are the tests behind her possible discovery.
Can it be synthesized by chemical engineers?
Dr. Robert Zoellner says he’s working to capture a major research university to begin the experiments and find out.
Being able to synthesize or physically create her molecule could lead to the possible creation of products like medicine, batteries and even, as Clara Lazen notes, explosives.
“And I was like, <<Yeah, I can sell this to the military for money>>,” Clara Lazen laughed.
She’s already discussed splitting the money with Ken Boehr.
“Hopefully in Clara’s case and in her classmates’ cases, as well, this [discovery] will keep their interest in science going,” Dr. Robert Zoellner said.