Smalley, Richard Errett
Richard Errett Smalley, 1943–2005, American chemist, b. Akron, Ohio, Ph.D. Princeton, 1973. He was a professor at Rice Univ. in Houston, Tex., from 1976 until his death in 2005. Smalley shared the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Robert Curl and Harold Kroto for their discovery of fullerenes, a form of carbon sometimes called a buckyball. This unusually symmetrical form of carbon, whose structure resembles a soccer ball, provided the foundation for nanotechnology. Following the discovery, Smalley's research focused almost exclusively on carbon nanotubes, and he used his status as a Nobel winner to push for funding for alternative energy research. In 2000 he founded Carbon Nanotechnologies, Inc., to develop his discoveries commercially.