A Pakistani high school students’ physics paper has managed to stun an older scientist at the International Young Physicists’ Tournament.
When certain kinds of electrically charged particles travel between a pointy electrode and a flat one, but bump into a puddle of oil along the way, they form an electric honeycomb.
Physicists knew of this phenomenon decades before Muhammad Shaheer Niazi, a 17-year-old high school student from Pakistan met the electric honeycomb.
In 2016, as one of the first Pakistani participants in the International Young Physicists’ Tournament, he replicated the phenomenon and presented his work as any professional scientist would. But he also developed photographic evidence of charged ions creating the honeycomb, and published his work Wednesday in the journal Royal Society Open Science, The NewYork Times reported.
Almost every electronic device in your home contains capacitors, which store electricity, a bit like a battery. Electricity travels from the top electrode, through the insulator, to the bottom, or ground electrode.
An electric honeycomb behaves like a capacitor. In this case, the top electrode is a needle that delivers high voltage to the air just a few centimeters above a thin layer of oil on the other flat, grounded surface electrode.
This article originally appeared on The New York Times.