Robert Floyd Curl Jr.


Robert Floyd Curl Jr.
(1933)

American chemist who with Richard E. Smalley and Sir Harold W. Kroto discovered the first fullerene, a spherical cluster of carbon atoms, in 1985. The discovery opened a new branch of chemistry, and all three men were awarded the 1996 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for their work.
Curl studied at Rice University (B.A., 1954) in Houston, Texas, and then completed his doctoral studies in chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley in 1957. He joined the faculty at Rice in 1958. In September 1985 Curl met with Kroto of the University of Sussex, Eng., and Smalley, a colleague at Rice, and, in 11 days of research, they discovered fullerenes. They announced their findings to the public in the Nov. 14, 1985, issue of the journal Nature.


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