Exploding Molecules (and Stereotypes)

Information on Google’s Science Competition:

We’ve become accustomed to assuming boys do better in science and math, while girls dominate in language and history. But it’s high time these stereotypes became a thing of the past. In Google’s first annual science competition in 2011, all three of the finalists were girls, and they beat out 10,000 other students from 90 countries, demonstrating both female and U.S. prominence in science. One winner discovered a way to make ovarian cancer treatments more effective. Another wants to revise the Clean Air Act using her model, quantifying air pollution among asthmatics. And the third winning project could lead to a barbeque meat marinade that reduces carcinogens.

Girls ruled again in 2012, with Brittany Wenger, a 17-year-old from Lakewood Ranch, FL taking home the grand prize for creating a Global Neural Network Cloud Service for Breast Cancer Detection. Across the country science-loving girls are doing amazing things, and not just in competitions. In February, Clara Lazen, a 10-year-old from Kansas City, MO, accidentally discovered a potentially explosive molecule in her fifth-grade science class. Clara’s assignment was to build a molecule using a modeling kit with colorful balls and plastic connectors. Clara randomly pieced together a combination of oxygen, nitrogen and carbon atoms to create a molecule her chemistry teacher, Kenneth Boehr, had never seen before. “I just saw that these go together more,” Clara told a Fox News local affiliate in Kansas City. “Like they fit more together. And they look better. And all the holes have to be filled in for it to be stable.”

More on Clara’s discovery.


More on ReSET’s work to further science career interest in girls. See July 2012 ReSET Report.

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