Baker Institute Rice faculty scholar Robert Curl issued a statement on the passing of Nobel laureate Sir Harold Kroto. Kroto, Curl and Rice colleague Richard Smalley were credited with the discovery of the carbon-60 molecule, commonly known as the buckyball, in 1985. The trio was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1996.
"I am deeply saddened by the loss of my dear friend Harold Kroto," Curl said. "Long before the buckminsterfullene, we were in the same field of molecular spectroscopy and well aware of each other's work. We first met in person in the summer of 1977 at a meeting in New Forest in England. Harry invited me to come visit him at his home in Lewes, Sussex.
"It happened that my schedule permitted a few extra days in the U.K., and I happily accepted for a very pleasant nonscientific visit with him and his wife, Margaret. Harry had an impish sense of humor fed by his favorite comedians, Monty Python, an aspect of his personality that I greatly appreciated.
"Harry was a great scientist. He had a creative mind and tremendous energy. His completely independent works, subsequent to the joint C60 discovery of the Rice-Sussex team, on the properties of the fullerenes stand as important milestones in the advancement of chemistry. His death is a great loss to science and to me."