1996

Rice professors Rick Smalley and Robert Curl and the University of Sussex scholar Harold Kroto receive the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their discovery of buckminsterfullerene (nicknamed buckyballs). When Smalley and Curl discover buckyballs in 1985, the team includes graduate students James Heath and Sean O'Brien.

The discovery leads to Rice's establishment of the country's 1st institute dedicated to nanotechnology research.

 

Dr. Smalley and Dr. Curl
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