Happy Halloween! (with a fullerene twist)

(Image by Fabiola Barrios Landeros, carved by Ivan Tubert Brohman)

The 1996 Nobel Prize for Chemistry has been won by Harold W. Kroto, Robert F. Curl and Richard E. Smalley for their discovery in 1985 of a new form of carbon, in which the atoms are arranged in hollow spheres like this pumpkin! The new form was named Buckminsterfullerene, after the architect Buckminster Fuller who designed geodesic domes in the 1960’s.

A fullerene is any molecule composed entirely of carbon, in the form of a hollow sphere, ellipsoid or tube. Spherical fullerenes are also called buckyballs, and they resemble the balls used in soccer. Cylindrical ones are called carbon nanotubes or buckytubes.

Structure of a fullerene. (Source: Wikipedia)
Carbon nanotube. Click on the image for an animation. (Image by Evi Gkeka)

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Posted on November 1, 2012, in materials, Nobel Prize. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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