Nobel Chemist To Speak Feb. 6 At Baylor

  • News Photo 1790
    Dr. Robert F. Curl Jr., the Kenneth S. Pitzer-Schlumberger Professor of Natural Sciences at Rice University and co-recipient of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
  • News Photo 1791
    Carbon-60, the fullerene molecule
Feb. 3, 2004

by Judy Long

The Baylor University department of chemistry and biochemistry will host Nobel Prize-winning chemist Robert F. Curl Jr., who will speak on "Trace Gas Sensors Using Mid-IR Laser Sources" at 3:15 p.m. Friday, Feb. 6. The lecture will be held in Room 100 of the Marrs McLean Science Building on the Baylor campus.

Curl, a professor of chemistry at Rice University, was a co-recipient of the 1996 Nobel Prize in chemistry along with Richard Smalley and Harold Kroto for their work in the discovery of the "Bucky ball," a giant carbon-60 molecule known as the fullerene. The beautifully shaped carbon compound resembles a soccer ball or the geodesic dome popularized by the famous architect Buckminster Fuller, from whom these compounds get their name.

When receiving the Nobel Prize, Curl said the three-dimensional fullerene molecules caused chemists to realize the variety of structures elemental carbon can form.

"We have learned that the cages can be extended into perfect nano-scale tubules which offer the promise of electrically conducting cables many times stronger than steel," he said.

Curl's lecture on Friday will look at the laser spectroscopy techniques he has used to monitor emissions from a volcano and the formaldehyde concentration in the urban Houston atmosphere.

Curl is the Kenneth S. Pitzer-Schlumberger Professor of Natural Sciences at Rice University. He received his bachelor's degree from Rice in 1954 and his doctorate from the University of California-Berkeley in 1957. Curl worked as a postdoctoral associate at Harvard University before joining the Rice faculty in 1958. Curl's research interests include spectroscopy, gas phase chemical kinetics and environmental monitoring.

For more information, contact the department of chemistry and biochemistry at (254)710-3311.

Looking for more news from Baylor University?