Rice launches the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology under the direction of Chemistry Professor Rick Smalley, who with Robert Curl, Harold Kroto and 2 Rice graduate students James Heath and Sean O'Brien discovered buckminsterfullerenes (buckyballs) in 1983. Often called the "father of nanotechnology," Smalley believes nanoscale science holds the key to developing new solutions to global energy problems, health issues and other challenges, and he founds the 1st university-based center devoted to the study of nanoscience and technology. By 1997, the Center occupies 83,000 square feet in Dell Butcher Hall (dedicated April 3, 1998). By December 14, 2005, 110 faculty from 14 departments affiliate with the Center, which is renamed the Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology to honor the Nobel Laureate, who died October 28, 2005.

open window