Robert F. Curl Jr.

Facts

Robert F. Curl Jr.

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

Robert F. Curl Jr.
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1996

Born: 23 August 1933, Alice, TX, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: Rice University, Houston, TX, USA

Prize motivation: "for their discovery of fullerenes."

Prize share: 1/3

Work

Carbon is an element that can assume a number of different forms. In nature, for example, graphite and diamonds appear. In 1985 Robert Curl, Richard Smalley and Harold Kroto irradiated a surface of graphite with laser pulses so that carbon gas was formed. When the carbon gas condensed, previously unknown structures with 60 and 70 carbon atoms were formed. The most common structure had 60 carbon atoms arranged in a sphere with five and six edges. The structures were called fullerenes in honor of architect Buckminster Fuller, who worked with this geometric shape.

To cite this section
MLA style: Robert F. Curl Jr. – Facts. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Media AB 2018. Wed. 21 Nov 2018. <https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/chemistry/1996/curl/facts/>

Back to top Back To Top Takes users back to the top of the page

Explore prizes and laureates

Look for popular awards and laureates in different fields, and discover the history of the Nobel Prize.