Curl, Smalley celebrate Nobel

by Stephen Benning

On Wednesday, President Malcolm Gillis hosted a reception for Nobel Laureates and Rice Chemistry Professors Richard Smalley and Robert Curl.

Smalley and Curl were awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry last week for their discovery of the C60 molecule, nicknamed the "bucky-ball." It is the most symmetrical of a class of molecules known as buckminsterfullerenes, so named after architect Buckminster Fuller, who designed geodesic domes in the 1960s.

At the reception, Curl said that "[winning the prize] hasn't quite sunk in yet," and that the overwhelming flow of accolades and letters of congratulations has simply been "too much to process."

Gillis was quick to add that the prize will give Rice "international visibility comparable to that which Rice now enjoys on a national level" and will also be an asset in recruiting new people to Rice, especially new faculty members. Gillis also noted that what made this reception special was "the presence of all the students," in reference to the droves of students in attendance at the reception, which he said "wouldn't happen at most other universities."

Those present agreed. "It isn't every day you get to see Nobel Prize winners face-to-face," Jones School of Administration student Eric Quintano said.

Jones School student Christine Hong had the same view. She said that she came to the reception "to see the scientists."

This item appeared in the News section of the October 18, 1996 issue.

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