10-Year-Old Accidentally Discovers New Explosive Molecule

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Matthew94:

The_root_of_all_evil:

Matthew94:

He had the intelligence to actually use his discovery unlike this person.

She's 10.

Beethoven may have been publishing his sonatas around that age, but he wasn't taking them to the publishers himself.

And he understood that music theory, she just put molecules together randomly.

If you had 1000 monkeys on 1000 typewriters writing forever you eventually get the best novel of all time.

Does that make the monkey a literary genius or is just the result of probability taking it's course? No it is the latter and thus the monkey shouldn't be praised and neither should she.

Don't ever compare her to Beethoven.

So we aren't allowed to give praise or encourage this child so that she might gain more interest in this field and in later life actually do all the stuff you say she can't do now. We must express all critic and praise as muted apathy.

Wow your a really nice guy you know that. I could just imagine you with children of your own.

"Daddy! Daddy! Look at my finger painting". "Yes dear but you'll probably never do something as good as that ever again at it's hardly Picasso now is it"

"Daddy! Daddy! I wrote a poem for you for Father's Day!". "Well yes that's very touching dear, but it's hardly 1000 monkeys on a thousand typewriters is it"

Caramel Frappe:

Matthew94:
Once again, she said "Is this real?" and that's heart warming. Really?.

Ah, calling me a troll when my opinion clashes with yours, stay classy. Notice how I haven't thrown insults but many of the users here including yourself have and you claim I'm the bad guy here?

Does it bother you that much that I'm not impressed by an accident that you have to insult a person stating an opinion?

People keep bringing up the fact she is a child, that's great but it doesn't give her a free pass in my eyes. If she is so interested in science as people here say then there plenty of chances for her to do impressive work in the future and if she does do something impressive then I'll have no issue praising her for it then but what she did here isn't very amazing in my eyes and thus I won't praise her.

Mm, was going to just post about the article that I read but I shall reply to you first since I have been following up on this conversation throughout the 5 pages.

This is an observation so it's not what I think of you- yet will state that I think the reason why so many people are getting offended by your posts is because of your way of writing. To them, this was a really cute story since a little girl got really into science and stumbled across a new molecule which is pretty hard to do despite how smart scientists are (and they're very smart, I envy them I admit.) Still, your opinion comes off as bashing in some way since you're saying the girl discovered it accidentally and it's no big deal so no one should care at all.

But I don't feel you meant that. All you were saying is that other people have done great things and to focus on just this girl who was playing around deserves no credit because the molecule she discovered may not even be important at all. As for me, I praise the girl.. just because it's exciting to know someone pulled it off at a young age. Even if she doesn't get credit or remembered for years on out... she will remember this and tell her friends/family/loved ones that she discovered something that big which scientists could use to help them and advance in technology. That is an accomplishment no matter what people make of it to be praised or shrugged off.

Not against you by any means, just stating out why you're being attacked by so many people for. Remember that people have emotions and if you brush them the wrong way, they shall get on you especially since they feel there's no need for you to get on this little girl like that. But, just an observation from me so yeah.

By the way, your sarcasm is another thing... I don't have an issue with it but doesn't help you dealing with Escapists who've quoted you. The 'stay classy' part is one of them. You don't even need to take my advise but just wanted to point that out... I care to much okay?

OT: Awesome! I'd throw her a party not because I think she deserves praise for finding out the new molecule but for helping us move onward with our technology or discoveries. I mean, if she was my daughter I think this would of earned her a free pass from taking the Finals in school haha. Or actually just throw her a party, that sounds best. The teacher she has is the main guest since he picked up on her accidental discovery so yeah all around party!! W00T W00T!!

And yet again Caramel Frappe you have shown how one can acertively and diplomatically express their critisism of another, whilst myself and other go straight for an ax you go and use tact and gentleman's words.

You should be working for the UN or something. World peace would be only a few years away should this happen.

Now here's the question:

Is she being intentionally humble for discovering this molecule and actually knew what she was doing, or is this simply the luckiest girl in existence?

Jonluw:
The science teacher is called Boehr?
That's pretty awesome.

Oh yeah, and the explosives. Yay. I'll be interested to see if it has any funny properties.

Crap. I was going to make that reference.

Also, really, the debate about primary school meritocracy is a fail-boat with no rudder.

so what have we learned today, kids...well I've been reminded not to be afraid to ask questions once in a while :P

Amarok:

Matthew94:
So did the child just put together a model for the craic or did she intentionally put it together with full knowledge of what she is doing.

If it's the former then I really don't care. If it's the latter then "Good for you".

Bit harsh. In the world of real growny-uppy scientists things get discovered accidentally all the time.

Many important discoveries have been accidental ones. This idea being thrown around by others that this kid will get renown is complete bollocks, though (the best they can hope for is a "cool story, bro"). Scads of completely pointless and esoteric molecules have been synthesised (such as the so-called Moebius aromatics), and the discoverers are (for all intents and purposes) completely unknown outside of the scientific community (and they're not that well known within the scientific community, to tell you the truth). This is basically what's going to happen:

1) A bunch of physical chemists (i.e. chemists who sit in front of computers, meaning that they're not "real" chemists in the eyes of the lab coat wearing majority) will do a bunch of frightfully complex calculations to estimate the stability of the compound. The results will be met with either chin stroking or derision.

2) A bunch of synthetic chemists (who have access to waaaaay too much funding) will spend the better part of a decade trying to actually make this crazy compound, proclaiming success even though said compound is only marginally stable at -200 degrees (and is thus completely bloody useless).

3) A bunch of papers will be published, and the kid's name will likely only be mentioned in passing (if at all) at seminars given by the researchers involved in all this silliness.

Matthew94:

The_root_of_all_evil:

Matthew94:

Randomly

Instead of getting hit on the head with an apple, tasting your finger, letting orange go mouldy, serving someone wafer-thin potatoes or any of the other random ways Science is progressed?

Or would you class Gravity, Saccharin, Penicillin, or Crisps as not very exciting?

And those people all wrote papers/investigated uses of their discoveries.

Fleming didn't go, "I found an odd mould pattern, would you solve why this has happened please?" to another person, no, he took it upon himself to research it and helped save many people as a result.

He had the intelligence to actually use his discovery unlike this person.

Really?

REALLY??

You can't be serious. How can you have the audacity (and that's putting it nicely) to expect of a 10 YEAR OLD GIRL that she actually studies this discovery as if she were some fucking Professor?

There's really not much else that can be said other than that it's really, really silly that this story is considered in any way, shape, or form, controversial.

Matthew94:

It was pure chance and she isn't going to be the one researching its uses so well done little girl, you discovered something by accident and will have no involvement in making it useful.

So did Mr. Rentgen when he discovered radiation. Look where that got us. Though he did investigate it first.

Ghengis John:

Matthew94:
What makes children immune to criticism and also what makes the act of said criticism indicative of a mental disorder?

Much as I would love to reply completely honestly it seems I've been put on probation... resetting my offense clock which hadn't ticked in about 8 months. So let's not go for broke shall we? Not worth it. I could appeal but the moderators are all chummy so it's unlikely it would prove fruitful. I would hasten to add however, that the comment was a humorous attempt to end the bickering in the thread, which someone has misinterpreted. I actually felt all the attacks had run their course.

I shall answer your question however with questions of my own. So you admit you are criticizing the child. What action do you have to criticize the child for? Who said anything about a mental disorder?

Ah, maybe criticism was the wrong choice of words, I was more downplaying her "achievement" than criticizing her.

Anyway, you said:

Guys, guys, come on now. I think we can all agree, there's something seriously wrong with Matthew if he would bash a 10 year old girl.

Unless you somehow assumed I had a physical disorder (which would be baseless) I must have a mental disorder according to you, that's what I was referring to.

I'm not saying that this is a great discovery. I'm just saying that the idea of a ten-year old kid rearranging the atoms on a wooden molecule set leading to the discovery of a potentially useful new molecule makes for great watercooler talk. And yet, this has started a flame war.

Good lord, this molecule is so dangerous that even discussion of it makes things blow up.

I have to side with Matthew94 on this one. There's a huge difference between happening upon something and knowing what to do with it, and happening upon something and going "look what I found! Cool, right?" She didn't figure out the molecule by trial and error, she figured it out by sticking things wherever they might go and getting lucky. That's not praise-worthy. If, instead of putting them together randomly, she'd gone through a bunch of "no, that won't work... no no, that's not right... well, that's close, but I still need more... no no, scrap that..." and so on, then she'd have demonstrated some talent. If it truly was a random assemblage, then she didn't do anything a toddler couldn't have done.

It's a touching story that a 10 year old girl was able to find a new molecule structure, but since she had no idea what to do with it, or what it could be used for, or even what the next steps should be, there's no reason to shower her with praise.

Anyone want to go to I Am Better Than Your Kids and submit this one to Maddox? I think he's beat.

Cubane was probably among the first hypothetical molecules constructed after the invention of these build-a-molecule playsets, yet the person we credit for its discovery is Phillip Eaton, the person who actually synthesized it for the first time in 1964 - since that is actually the infinitely harder part. Similarly, making the compound into an super-powered explosive by attaching nitro-groups to all 8 corners was probably among the first possible applications he thought of, yet what matters is that it wasn't until 35 years later that one of his students, Mao-Xi Zhang, figured out a way to synthesize it.

And even then, these cubane compounds, despite theoretically having the "ideal" structure for an explosive, may never find a commercial application because good old RDX is just infinitely more economically viable.

So yeah, as much as I commend this girl for actually getting engaged in her chemistry class, proclaiming her a genius for this supposedly earth-shattering invention seems kind of... premature.

snave:
Anyone want to go to I Am Better Than Your Kids and submit this one to Maddox? I think he's beat.

Maddox? Seriously? People care about him these days?

I thought the age when merely having an opinion made a person edgy on the internet ended with YouTube.

she makes the boys feel stupid. Me however just got the best laugh of the day.

Waaghpowa:

oktalist:

Waaghpowa:
Unless it's proven that she was some sort of super genius

Nobody said she was a super genius.

I'm gonna stick with "unless it's proven that she won the lottery, my assumption is that she simply used her moderately high intelligence to think of something quite cool", as that is the much more likely explanation.

This would be significantly more impressive if she WAS a genius is my point.

It would be more impressive if she won Olympic gold in the 100m sprint, but, y'know, again, nobody said anything about that, just like nobody said anything about her being a genius. It's irrelevant.

unless you can prove that she's smarter than average and consciously knew what she was building, the odds are that it was from random chance.

No, again, like I said, I think the odds are more in favour of her building the molecule using a basic understanding of the valencies of the atoms she had been given. That is much more likely than coming up with a viable molecule by random chance. You give the impression that you have not even read, or at least not comprehended, the post you are replying to.

Option 1. Kid builds viable molecule by randomly sticking things together: Very unlikely.
Option 2. Kid builds viable molecule using basic rules of atomic valency: Happens every day.

In the absence of evidence either way, I'm more inclined to assume the more likely option, that she built the molecule using the very simply rules she was taught by her teacher.

So actually I would be MORE impressed if it was pure random chance.

I'm basing my assumptions on what information is available, whereas you are basing yours on your opinion. Or feelings, consider how strongly people are reacting to this because a child is involved

I'm basing my assumptions on the information and on what seems reasonable to me given my experience of living in the universe, whereas I don't know what you're basing yours on besides the use of the word "random" by a faculty press communications writer who may or may not understand the true meaning of the word.

I'm treating this as I would any random occurring instance. "Good for you!" *Pat on the back*

I'm treating this as I would any kid who figured out something fairly cool. "Good for you!" *Pat on the back*

oktalist:
-

So it's more likely that a 10 year old consciously creates a never before seen molecule using basic understanding of valencies? Funny thing about kids, people tend to treat them like they're an exception to everything. Kid does something smart "She must be a genius", kid does something bad "Oh well she doesn't understand, lay off her". You know what's far more apparent than this kids intelligence? The fact that people seem to be giving this kid more attention for accidentally creating a new molecule while if it weren't for the professor's brilliance to recognize it as something potentially ground breaking, we wouldn't be here. Yet people are insisting on making this about the girl.

Odds are, if it weren't for this man, none of this would be news. And unless you can prove that this girl really understood what she was doing, it's more likely it was all due to chance. Every day there is probably someone else with better understanding and qualifications doing this exact same thing, yet they didn't find it? And you insist it isn't chance.

DiMono:
I have to side with Matthew94 on this one. There's a huge difference between happening upon something and knowing what to do with it, and happening upon something and going "look what I found! Cool, right?" She didn't figure out the molecule by trial and error, she figured it out by sticking things wherever they might go and getting lucky. That's not praise-worthy. If, instead of putting them together randomly, she'd gone through a bunch of "no, that won't work... no no, that's not right... well, that's close, but I still need more... no no, scrap that..." and so on, then she'd have demonstrated some talent. If it truly was a random assemblage, then she didn't do anything a toddler couldn't have done.

It's a touching story that a 10 year old girl was able to find a new molecule structure, but since she had no idea what to do with it, or what it could be used for, or even what the next steps should be, there's no reason to shower her with praise.

This guy knows what's going on.

Waaghpowa:
So it's more likely that a 10 year old consciously creates a never before seen molecule using basic understanding of valencies?

Yes, that's what I said. Well done for finally comprehending the written word.

There are two things going on here. Firstly, the kid created a viable molecule using the basic rules of atomic valencies that her teacher had explained to her class. That's the non-random part. Secondly, the molecule turns out to be one that's never been discovered before. That's the random part. I already said this the first time I replied to you.

Saying that she made the molecule by just sticking bits together randomly makes no sense. Did the teacher say, "okay kids, just stick these things together randomly for an hour while I go to the toilets to sniff coke"? No, he would've told the kids the basic rules for putting the bits together, so that they might learn something, that's his job.

You know what's far more apparent than this kids intelligence? The fact that people seem to be giving this kid more attention for accidentally creating a new molecule while if it weren't for the professor's brilliance to recognize it as something potentially ground breaking, we wouldn't be here.

People don't seem to be giving more attention to the kid. They seem to be giving more attention to the news story about the kid, because it's a nice human interest story and that makes it more newsworthy than a dry scientific paper about some new miracle molecule, of which there are hundreds.

All the professor did was type the chemical formula into a computer and have some software tell him it was a new, undiscovered molecule. The kid's teacher deserves the most praise out of the three of them, for being an awesome teacher, stimulating his students' minds and taking an interest in what they came up with.

Odds are, if it weren't for this man, none of this would be news.

And if he'd discovered it by himself it wouldn't have been news, as adults are discovering things like this all the time.

DiMono:
there's no reason to shower her with praise.

I don't see anyone showering her with praise here.

oktalist:
Long winded snip filled with more assumptions

This has been going on for almost 3 days and you're still at it? Someone is getting over defensive.

Again, prove that she knew what she was doing beyond playing with atomic models or this whole thing might as well be chance. Until then, ignored because I can't be bother to argue over this inane topic any longer. I'm not going to spend another 3 days on it.

The professor deserves credit for making this find and the girl deserves credit for being the muse.

Hmm, if Clara grows up and gets destroyed by her own findings, that will be some irony right there.

So...does Jeff Foxworthy know about this yet?

The_root_of_all_evil:

Mike Kayatta:
but I would be willing to bet that the next six months of his life will involve little more than fifth-graders storming his desk with nonsensical molecule configurations hoping that they've stumbled onto something. Poor guy.

"I've discovered ice-creamium!"

If it's made into an explosive, she really deserves to have her name on it. Clartex or something.

I'd have called it 'icecreamsandwedge' just to annoy android's developers!

Clartex sounds pretty cool though.

image

this thread...

Now, why should I feel dumber just because any person reaches higher? I should praise others for their talents and achievements, not grow bitter and evil (Well, MORE evil.) over it. Does the arrival of somebody smarter somehow change my decent level of education? Not at all. I would be pleased to talk to Stephen Hawking, should he randomly appear.

A lot of people don't get science here.

She did not "randomly" put together a molecule that just worked. She did so according to specific rules, which meant she *understood those*. Meaning she already understands more about molecules than most people dissing her, making the dissing pretty hilarious.

Fact: REAL science often is done exactly like this. And I think that's why you get so many people trying to take a shot at her: They fully well know she did something they couldn't, is much more of a real scientists than they will ever be, and that she gets a deserved moment of fame, instead of the dissers. Which is why they are so jealous.

After all, she's just a girl. EWW! Every whiny guy knows girls can't do science because they're stuuuupid! So obviously she can't have done it!!!!!

All the professor did was type the chemical formula into a computer and have some software tell him it was a new, undiscovered molecule. The kid's teacher deserves the most praise out of the three of them, for being an awesome teacher, stimulating his students' minds and taking an interest in what they came up with.

Absolutely. The man is how a teacher SHOULD be. He clearly inspired interest, made his students actuallly understand the issues, AND took them seriously.

This man is a good teacher. If we would have more people like him, our current education wouldn't be as bad as it is right now.

I've already forgotten the child's name. She randomly put together some objects and by chance it was a viable synthetic molecule. Big deal. Out of the millions of students who have ever used these sets and made random things, at least one of them had to eventually make something which can be synthesised. It's just probability, nothing more.

:brilliant:

Well played, Claire.

Matthew94:
So did the child just put together a model for the craic or did she intentionally put it together with full knowledge of what she is doing.

If it's the former then I really don't care. If it's the latter then "Good for you".

EDIT I was right

"But that's what happened when Clara Lazen, 10, randomly arranged a unique combination of oxygen, nitrogen and carbon atoms."

http://now.humboldt.edu/news/not-your-average-fifth-grade-assignment/

Randomly

It was pure chance and she isn't going to be the one researching its uses so well done little girl, you discovered something by accident and will have no involvement in making it useful.

Right, and that is absolutely a good reason to be a huge debbie downer about it.

Mozza444:

Matthew94:
*Snip

I agree with this guy 100%
She really hasn't done anything special, this is what she was playing with:

At a basic level.. all the 'holes' must be filled and joined to another 'ball'.
She made a pretty pattern, that is all.
The fact that it 'could' potentially be something useful is worthless.
If this had any impact on Science, real scientists would be sat in fancy labs playing with their Molymods.

The hard part is finding how to make this molecule and what it even does.

Give me that molecule and i will replace all of those Oxygen atoms with Sulphur.
I have just made a new molecule, and yes its probably just as valid as the little girls.

Oxygen and sulfur are in the same group, but that does not make them automatically interchangeable. They are in many cases, but not always and not always with the same valency. Who knows if the sulfur analogue of this compound is even theoretically stable? Not you I suspect.

If I gave you a molecule of phosphorous pentoxide (P4O10) and you replaced all the oxygens with sulfur atoms, what would you get?

If the girl's molecule has been through some comp chem and come out as theoretically stable then that's a step above your sulfur analogue being "just as valid" just because you have seen a periodic table before.

And who says chemists don't mess around with molymods and make discoveries? The existence of the fullerenes was predicted due to just this sort of thing (later discovered by accident during experiments looking for something entirely different).

joe-h2o:

Who knows if the sulfur analogue of this compound is even theoretically stable? Not you I suspect.

And neither does the girl, that is what point i am making.

joe-h2o:

If I gave you a molecule of phosphorous pentoxide (P4O10) and you replaced all the oxygens with sulfur atoms, what would you get?

Phosphorous Pentasulfide.

joe-h2o:

If the girl's molecule has been through some comp chem and come out as theoretically stable then that's a step above your sulfur analogue being "just as valid" just because you have seen a periodic table before.

Put mine through some "comp chem" then.
Did she figure out by herself it was valid? No.
Then why should i have to?

joe-h2o:

And who says chemists don't mess around with molymods and make discoveries? The existence of the fullerenes was predicted due to just this sort of thing (later discovered by accident during experiments looking for something entirely different).

Its the discovery of the actual molecule that matters, there is no point putting millions into trying to get this molecule when most likely it will be "(later discovered by accident during experiments looking for something entirely different)"
Also they might.
However i am saying.. That is not how great discoveries are made.
For instance:
Penicillin - The mold contained a certain chemical group that was found to kill bacteria. That was manipulated to what is used today.
Aspirin - Came from salicylic acid came from the bark of a willow tree. This was then manipulated to make todays aspirin.

All major discoveries come from actually obtaining the substance.

I am happy that she 'discovered' a molecule. Name it after her.
But my point is she is not a child prodigy.

NICE!
I mean accidentally doing something is cool (especially when you're drunk!)
I hope they name the first thing they make something after her.
Maybe two HUGE explosions called Clara and Lazen xD
Then they must blow up something really cool...

Even if it was random... that's really cool! Accidental discoveries are cool to me. XD

Matthew94:
So did the child just put together a model for the craic or did she intentionally put it together with full knowledge of what she is doing.

If it's the former then I really don't care. If it's the latter then "Good for you".

EDIT I was right

"But that's what happened when Clara Lazen, 10, randomly arranged a unique combination of oxygen, nitrogen and carbon atoms."

http://now.humboldt.edu/news/not-your-average-fifth-grade-assignment/

Randomly

It was pure chance and she isn't going to be the one researching its uses so well done little girl, you discovered something by accident and will have no involvement in making it useful.

Bollocks. Real adult scientists with coats and degrees and labs and everything discover shit by accident all the time, sometimes while making stupid mistakes, and they still take full credit for it. Lil' Clara deserves just as much. Granted she's not a child prodigy for this 'discovery', but plenty of non-qualified people have discovered and created stuff, so. Credit due.

And good on the teacher for recognizing the potential here, embracing a child's desire to learn rather than waving it off because she's 'just a kid with a toy'.
All teachers need to be this attentive and encouraging.

Sansha:

Matthew94:
So did the child just put together a model for the craic or did she intentionally put it together with full knowledge of what she is doing.

If it's the former then I really don't care. If it's the latter then "Good for you".

EDIT I was right

"But that's what happened when Clara Lazen, 10, randomly arranged a unique combination of oxygen, nitrogen and carbon atoms."

http://now.humboldt.edu/news/not-your-average-fifth-grade-assignment/

Randomly

It was pure chance and she isn't going to be the one researching its uses so well done little girl, you discovered something by accident and will have no involvement in making it useful.

Bollocks. Real adult scientists with coats and degrees and labs and everything discover shit by accident all the time, sometimes while making stupid mistakes, and they still take full credit for it. Lil' Clara deserves just as much. Granted she's not a child prodigy for this 'discovery', but plenty of non-qualified people have discovered and created stuff, so. Credit due.

And good on the teacher for recognizing the potential here, embracing a child's desire to learn rather than waving it off because she's 'just a kid with a toy'.
All teachers need to be this attentive and encouraging.

You bumped this thread from february to tell me that?

Anyway, if you want to know my response just read the thread, I'm sure youll find a few similar posts to yours that I answered.

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