Updated 6 months ago
Harold Kroto, now a professor and scientist with FSU’s department of chemistry and biochemistry, along with two other scientists at Rice University, Robert Curl Jr. and Richard Smalley, shared the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their discovery of “Buckminsterfullerene,” also known as “Buckyballs,” a type of carbon molecule whose powerful atomic bonds give it extraordinary strength. Buckyballs are the third form of pure carbon to be discovered, after graphite and diamonds. The material is named after Buckminster Fuller, an American author, architect, inventor and futurist who died in 1983. The discovery revolutionized the fields of chemistry and materials science — and directly contributed to the development of Buckypaper, sheets of microscopic carbon fibers that are 1/50,000th the diameter of a human hair. The lightweight material has extraordinary strength and abilities in conducting heat and carrying electrical currents.