Professor Sir Harry Kroto
Professor Sir Harry Kroto received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1996, jointly with US collaborators Robert Curl and Richard Smalley, for the discovery of the C60 form of carbon.
The finding, made in 1985 during his time as a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Sussex, has been hailed as one of the ten most important scientific discoveries of the past 60 years.
The C60,created from 60 carbon atoms arranged in the same structure as a football and known as buckminster fullerenes or ‘buckyballs’, has a structure that give it immense strength, even at the microscopic level. It is the basis for nanotechnology with a potentially vast range of applications in medicine, electronics and energy production.
Although proud of his achievement, Professor Sir Harry Kroto has warned scientists against making such prizes their goal. In 1996, in Le Prix Nobel, he wrote: “My advice is to do something which interests you or which you enjoy (though I am not sure about the definition of enjoyment) and do it to the absolute best of your ability. If it interests you, however mundane it might seem on the surface, still explore it because something unexpected often turns up just when you least expect it. With this recipe, whatever your limitations, you will almost certainly still do better than anyone else. Having chosen something worth doing, never give up and try not to let anyone down.”