Buckyball creator dies
31 October 2005
Richard Smalley, who shared the 1996 Nobel prize for the discovery of buckminsterfullerene, or buckyballs, has died aged 62 after a long battle with cancer.
Richard Smalley, co-discoverer of the third form of carbon has died aged 62
© Rice University
Smalley from Rice University, US, shared the prize with Robert Curl and Harold Kroto for the discovery they made together over an 11 day period in 1985. C60, the buckyball, is a football shaped molecule that, together with other fullerenes such as C70, was hailed as a new form of elemental carbon (the others being two kinds of graphite and two kinds of diamond).
Smalley's most recent research focused on buckytubes. These elongated fullerenes are essentially high tech polymers, but unlike polymers such as polypropylene they can conduct electricity.
The buckytube work led to the start up of Carbon Nanotechnologies, in 2000. The company is now developing large scale production and applications for buckytubes.
'Rick was incredibly creative and had the ability to make his creative vision a reality,' said Curl, Kenneth S Pitzer-Schlumberger professor emeritus of natural sciences and professor emeritus of chemistry at Rice University. Karen Harries-Rees
Nobel prize for chemistry
1996 prize for discovery of fullerenes
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