Professor Harry Kroto shares the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry (with Robert Curl and Richard Smalley) for the discovery of C-60, a sphere-shaped molecule made up of 60 carbon atoms that looks a bit like a nano-sized soccer ball. Sir Harry named the molecule Buckminster Fullerene after the American architect Richard Buckminster Fuller, whose geodesic domes it resembles.
In this interview, Harry Kroto recalls the discovery of C-60, which happened while he was sifting through interstellar dust. He is a MacDiarmid Institute international advisory board member and is in New Zealand to attend AMN4, a nanotechnology meeting held at the University of Otago from Feb 8-12, where he is giving the opening plenary lecture. Sir Harry and his wife Margaret are visiting as University of Otago James and Jean Davis Prestige Visitors.
Professor Kroto is also well known for his efforts in science education. He co-founded the Vega Science Trust, which gives scientists a broadcasting platform to inform students, teachers and the public directly about scientific issues. He is also involved in the Global Educational Outreach initiative, which uses new technology to provide Science, Engineering and Technology teaching material.