Sir Harry Kroto FRS
(1939-2016)

Died aged 76

Sir Harold Walter Kroto FRS (born Harold Walter Krotoschiner; 7 October 1939 – 30 April 2016), known as Harry Kroto, was an English chemist. He shared the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Robert Curl and Richard Smalley for their discovery of fullerenes. He was the recipient of many other honors and awards. Kroto held many positions in academia throughout his life, ending his career as the Francis Eppes Professor of Chemistry at Florida State University, which he joined in 2004. Prior to this, he spent approximately 40 years at the University of Sussex. Kroto promoted science education and was a critic of religious faith.

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Commemorated on 2 plaques

In this building in early September 1985, a team of scientists discovered a previously unknown pure carbon molecule, C60, which they dubbed buckminsterfullerene. The name was chosen because the geodesic domes of Buckminster Fuller provided a clue that the molecule’s atoms might be arranged in the form of a hollow cage. The structure, a truncated icosahedron with 32 faces, 12 pentagonal and 20 hexagonal, has the shape of a soccer ball. Nicknamed buckyballs, this first known stable molecular form of carbon not only opened up a new field of organic chemistry but also, through the development of carbon nanotubes, a new field of materials science. In 1996, Robert Curl, Harold Kroto, and Richard Smalley won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the discovery of the fullerenes.

Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, Rice University, 6100 Main Street, Space Science Building, TX 77005, Houston, TX, United States where they was part of a team of scientists that discovered a previously unknown pure carbon molecule, C60, which they dubbed buckminsterfullerene (1985)

Professor Sir Harold Kroto FRS NL 1939-2016 In 1985, experiments initiated here at the University of Sussex led Kroto to discover a new form of carbon, which he named Buckminsterfullerene (C60 or Buckyball), sparking many applications in material science, electronics and nanotechnology. Kroto, with US collaborators, shared the Nobel Prize for discovery of these 'Fullerenes' in 1996. Kroto also passionately promoted science engagement, founding the VEGA Science Trust and GEOSET.

Sussex University, Brighton, United Kingdom where they worked