After Recess, We’ll Be Inventing New Molecules
You give some kids an atomic model set and they immediately fall asleep. Others, they struggle to recreate even a water molecule. Ten year-old Clara Lazen? She invented a new molecule.
Playing around in her 5th-grade class, she arranged carbon, nitrogen and oxygen atoms into a molecule that had never been seen before. But when a local chemist studied the structure, the bonds all fit like they should and the structure was realistic, at the very least. They called it tetranitratoxycarbon.
Now Clara has her name on a research paper, and despite the possible application of the molecule to explosives, she’s pretty excited to be a part of such an awesome science project.
(via Humboldt State Now, image above of chemist Bob Zoellner with a model of tetranitratoxycarbon)
What is a Pulsar?
Neutron stars are small (about 20km across), rotate rapidly and are incredibly dense. They are mostly made of neutrons that formed as electrons combined with protons in the atomic nuclei of the dying stars’ collapsing cores. Their powerful magnetic fields lead to radio pulses that can be detected on the Earth each time they rotate. These objects are known as pulsars when the pulses can be detected on the Earth.1
The British astronomer Jocelyn Bell Burnell discovered pulsars while completing her PhD at Cambridge University in the late 1960s. Using a radio telescope designed by her adviser Anthony Hewish and Martin Ryle (both men later shared a Nobel prize for their work), Bell Burnell found strange radio pulses coming from a single point in the sky.
After a period of confusion about what was causing the pulses, Bell Burnell and her colleagues confirmed that pulsars, as the sources of pulses came to be known, are emitted by rapidly spinning neutron stars.2
The Vela Pulsar (watch here)
The Crab Pulsar
Bonus: Pulsar Sounds (Listen Here)