Thursday, June 14, 2018
Most students fail the first midterm in Michael Young’s organic chemistry lecture at the University of Toledo. In spring 2017, the average was a 50. But one student, Daniel Liu, scored a 99.
“He smoked the competition,” Young said.
Daniel is now a researcher in Young’s lab. He co-authored a paper, published May 22, that promises a faster, cheaper and more environmentally friendly way to make pharmaceutical drugs and pesticides.
And he just turned 13.
Every year, Young has students join his lab. Daniel was interested right away. “I did a bit of background research,” he explained.
The University of Toledo’s Environmental Health and Radiation Safety department does not allow children under 12 to be in labs. But with his parents’ permission, Daniel was able to start work in Young’s lab more than a year ago, when he was still 11.
“Having Daniel has definitely been interesting,” Young said. “On the one hand, his intellect is very much like an adult, but socially he’s still a kid.”
Early on, Daniel had to be told to clean up and peppered fellow researchers with questions, which sometimes rubbed others the wrong way, Young said.
But now, “he’s like a lab mascot,” the professor said.