[Press and Public Relations] Nobel Prize Winner to Give Lecture at University of Leicester

January 2002

No 8

As part of the University of Leicester's 80th Anniversary celebrations, the Faculty of Science Lecture will be given by one of the country's leading scientists.

University of Leicester Dean of Science Professor John Fothergill said: "I am delighted that Professor Sir Harry Kroto is able to give the Faculty of Science Public Lecture for the University's 80th anniversary.

"Harry Kroto won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1996 for the discovery of a new molecular form of carbon.   I have heard Harry talk and he gives a very interesting and entertaining presentation.   His lecture will not just be about his own scientific work, but he will also talk about the ways in which science can be presented to make it more interesting to the general public."

Professor Sir Harry Kroto was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1996 for the discovery of a new form of carbon molecule. The molecule, which comprises 60 carbon atoms, is shaped like a football.  The bonds between the atoms form the hexagons and pentagons from which a football is made.  This new substance was called "Buckminsterfullerene" (the molecule is often affectionately known as a "buckyball") after Buckminster Fuller, the US architect who designed the geodesic dome at Expo '67 in Montreal. 

The buckminsterfullerene molecule has proved to be the basic building block of larger structures which have surprising properties. For example this elegant cage molecule can hold other atoms, it can form tiny "nano" tubes or the buckyballs can be joined together to form superconducting structures, which have zero electrical resistance. 

The discovery, which was stimulated by Kroto's observation of new carbon-based molecules in space, was somewhat surprising since organic (i.e. carbon-based) chemistry, has been studied intensely for over 300 years.  A whole new world has been found, waiting to be discovered.

Professor Sir Harry Kroto's lecture, entitled "Science - a round peg in a square world" will take place on Thursday 24 January 2002 at 7 pm in Lecture Theatre 1, Ken Edwards Building, on the University of Leicester main campus.

Professor Kroto's reputation as an entertaining speaker has meant that there is considerable demand for tickets for this Faculty of Science Lecture, which is aimed at A-level students as well as the general public.   Tickets are free and available from Mrs Chris Goddard, PA to the Dean of Science, telephone 0116 252 3403, email cg38@le.ac.uk.   

Note to editors:   Further information is available from Professor John Fothergill, Dean of Science, University of Leicester, telephone 0116 252 3403, email jcf@le.ac.uk

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