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Childlike wonder

Not every invention or discovery comes from a grownup.

In fact, you've got a kid to thank for one of the best cold treats on the planet. The 11-year-old Frank Epperson was just your average California kid when, in 1905, he decided to mix soda powder and water in a cup, stirring it with a wooden stick. Lo and behold, after leaving it overnight, he awoke to a delightful surprise. Epperson nabbed the patent in 1923.

Published:Caption:Photo:Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images
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High school students: New pulsar

This spring, a group of high school students found an undiscovered pulsar by analyzing data from the National Science Foundation's Green Bank Telescope. This epic discovery will assist astronomers in better understanding how binary neutron star systems form and evolve. What will they do next? Maybe Disney World. Or maybe discover a cure for aging.

Published:Caption:Photo:NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
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Kathryn Gray: Supernova

Ten-year-old Canadian Kathryn Aurora Gray was riffling through pictures her dad had taken on New Year’s Eve, and decided to examine newer images of the same location to gauge if anything had changed. Well, something had. One photo proved later to show a supernova, officially making Gray the youngest person to ever discover one. With a name like Kathryn Aurora Gray, what would you expect?

Published:Caption:Photo:NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center
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Matthew Berger: Ancient bone

Nine-year-old Berger was accompanying his archaeologist father on a dig in South Africa when he wandered off on his own. He ended up discovering a two-million-year-old collarbone of a little boy much like himself. We bet his dad had no bones to pick with this kid.

Published:Caption:Photo:David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty Images
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Shubham Banerjee: Lego Braille printer

At only 12, California seventh grader Banerjee invented a braille printer that can be used in developing countries. The average braille printer runs around $2,000. But Banerjee reconfigured his Lego printer with the capability to read braille. He calls it Braigo.

Published:Caption:Photo:David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty Images
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Louis Braille: Writing for the blind

It’s no wonder a 12-year-old could come up with a good way to print braille, when the inventor of the system himself was only 15. Louis Braille invented his own way of reading and writing language in France in 1824, after losing his sight at age 5. The braille system is now an invaluable tool for blind people around the world.

Published:Caption:Photo:Noah Seelam/AFP/Getty Images
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Kylie Simonds: Chemotherapy backpack

This girl didn't let her cancer diagnosis stop her from inventing an incredibly beneficial machine for kids going through chemotherapy. In 2013, the 11-year-old Simonds invented a pediatric, wearable IV machine. Kylie calls it the I-Pack. Since then, she's secured a patent and is raising money to expand production.

Published:Caption:Photo:Courage for Kylie
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Emelia Fawbert: Ancient vertebra

The 5-year old Fawbert found a 50,000-year-old rhinoceros vertebra bigger than her head while accompanying her father on an excavation. Dad should really offer her a job.

Published:Caption:Photo:Getty Images
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Tony Hansberry: Surgical stitching

When Tony Hansberry isn't discovering revolutionary medical techniques, he's busy being a 15-year-old kid. Tony has designed a way to make hysterectomies less invasive with stitching that makes the procedure less risky. He now finally has time to study for his DMV test.

Published:Caption:Photo:BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images
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James Hyatt: 500-year-old pendant

We all dream of finding treasure. Unless we're toddlers, in which case, we dream of cookies and Elmo. Still, Hyatt managed to fulfill the wishes of untold treasure hunters when he unearthed an ancient, 500-year-old pendant worth a whopping $4 million. Call it beginner's luck.

Published:Caption:Photo:CBS News
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