Bouncing Balls of Carbon: The Discovery and Promise of Fullerenes


By early 1993, less than 3 years after the existence of a new form of carbon called buckminsterfullerene was confirmed, the scientific community's infatuation with these so-called buckyballs had turned into a love affair. Some might call it an obsession. Neatly packaged by Mother Nature into never-before-seen hollow molecules that resemble infinitesimally small soccer-balls or geodesic domes, buckyballs now have celebrity status. Science magazine declared the buckyball molecule the 1991 "Molecule of the Year" because, said the editors, "rarely has one molecule so swiftly opened the door to a new field of science."

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