Curl, Robert Floyd, Jr.

Curl, Robert Floyd, Jr.,

1933–, American chemist, b. Alice, Tex., Ph.D. Univ. of California, Berkeley, 1957. Curl has been a professor at Rice Univ. in Houston, Tex., since 1958. In 1996 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Richard SmalleySmalley, Richard Errett,
1943–2005, American chemist, b. Akron, Ohio, Ph.D. Princeton, 1973. He was a professor at Rice Univ. in Houston, Tex., from 1976 until his death in 2005.
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 and Harold KrotoKroto, Harry
(Sir Harold Walter Kroto), 1939–2016, British chemist, b. Harold Walter Krotoschiner, Ph.D. Univ. of Sheffield, 1964. Kroto was the son of German parents who fled Nazi rule to England. He was a member of the faculty at Univ.
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 for the discovery of fullerenesfullerene,
any of a class of carbon molecules in which the carbon atoms are arranged into 12 pentagonal faces and 2 or more hexagonal faces to form a hollow sphere, cylinder, or similar figure.
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, which are carbon atoms bound in the form of a ball. Since the initial breakthrough by the three researchers, a number of structural variations on fullerenes have been developed, and much research has focused on exploring potential applications. These materials offer high heat resistance and superconductivitysuperconductivity,
abnormally high electrical conductivity of certain substances. The phenomenon was discovered in 1911 by Heike Kamerlingh Onnes, who found that the resistance of mercury dropped suddenly to zero at a temperature of about 4.
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 and have laid the foundation for work in the field of nanotechnology.
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