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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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Twelve Candles for 60 Carbons
13 November 1998 8:00 pm
The buckyball, a 60-carbon molecule shaped like a soccer ball, made its debut 13 years ago today in the pages of Nature. The discovery came while British chemist Harold Kroto was visiting the Rice University lab of American chemist Richard Smalley; they were trying to create new forms of carbon that might exist in interstellar space by bombarding graphite with a laser beam. When the researchers analyzed the resulting products with mass spectroscopy, they detected an unusually stable molecule with exactly 60 carbons; later, they worked out its spherical shape. Kroto named the molecule a "buckminsterfullerene" from its resemblance to the geodesic dome designed by architect Buckminster Fuller. Chemists are still excitedly studying this remarkably strong and beautiful molecule, along with related carbon structures, such as buckytubes, which may prove useful as tiny chemical reaction chambers or electronic components.