A Florida native and USC student was announced as a nominee for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry Monday for completing a lab in only twenty minutes. Christopher Halton is an exercise science major, currently unsure about his plans for after his undergraduate studies.
Last Thursday, Halton managed to finish a lab analyzing the effects of temperature changes on a chemical solution in a record amount of time. While the freshman is the youngest nominee ever, the Nobel Committee says that his work has the potential to “revolutionize the field of undergraduate, 100-level chemistry.” The Committee hailed Halton as an emerging world leader in the field, and the student has since been compared to the likes of Curie, Pasteur, and even Alfred Nobel, the creator of the esteemed prize.
According to the lab manual, the estimated completion time was about an hour and fifteen minutes. However, Halton discovered that heating up each solution for two minutes instead of twenty, and placing them in an ice bath for one minute instead of ten, allowed him to finish the lab in a miraculously-short time period.
“I pretty much just divided all of the times by ten, it seemed like the best way to follow the scientific method,” he said.
When asked to comment, Halton’s TA said that he was very proud of Halton. “I told the class to follow the instructions carefully,” the TA said, “and that this would be one of our longer labs. But he decided to do things his own way – what a brilliant concept!”
The professor overseeing the lab sections told the Third Spur that she loves it when students decide to try to speed up labs involving chemicals they may not be completely familiar with. “What do we know? We may have written the lab manual and have multiple doctorates between us, but sometimes prodigies come along.”
While the nomination comes as a welcome surprise for many, Halton’s lab partner Valerie Barnes expressed dismay in the decision. “I did all of the calculations and wrote the lab report because he wouldn’t text me back.”
At press time, Halton had not yet decided whether he would travel to Stockholm to accept the prize should he win. “I really don’t know – missing lab would be great, but listening to lectures from the other winners might be kinda boring.”