Tribute to Professor Sir Harold"Harry" Kroto
Professor Sir Kroto's Legacy
Professor Kroto, 1996 recipient of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, has recently passed away. His Nobel Prize was based on his co-discovery of buckminsterfullerene, an unusual carbon molecule consisting of 60 carbon atoms arranged as a spheroid, in a pattern exactly matching the stitching on soccer balls. As the geodesic domes designed by the late inventor/architect Buckminster Fuller, were crucial in arriving at the correct structure at the time of the discovery, Kroto named the molecule "buckminsterfullerene" - now nicknamed "buckyball". Its discovery has opened up an entirely new branch of chemistry. The family of “Fullerene” carbon cage molecules has exceptional structural stability, electronic behavior and other intriguing properties, which are now finding applications in solar cell and medical applications such as non-toxic Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) agents.
Professor Kroto leaves a rich legacy. His passion and commitment to training the next generation of scientists set the stage for students and faculty around the globe. Multidisciplinary research is reshaping science today, and Professor Kroto’s work is a great example of what thinking across the disciplines can accomplish.
I had the honor of getting to know him when I hosted him for the FAU Annual Nobel Symposium in 2010. Students, faculty and staff at FAU were all charmed by Professor Kroto’s passion and his ability to deliver a complex lecture in a manner that could be understood by all. He will be missed, but his legacy will continue to spark excitement in many scientists around the globe.
Picture shows Sir Kroto with students at FAU.