Indiana State University Newsroom

Chemistry Nobel Prize winner to speak at ISU

November 1, 2010

Sir Harold Kroto, 1996 Nobel Prize for Chemistry winner, will speak at Indiana State University on Nov. 11.

Kroto's talk on "Science, Society, and Sustainability" will take place at 7 p.m. in Hulman Memorial Student Union's Dede I.

"He is truly an expert in how to translate the scientific knowledge into common languages," said Guoping Zhang, ISU associate professor of physics. "He will reveal the potential job opportunities in these emerging fields. I heard his talk once and was stunned within five minutes."

In addition to the 7 p.m. public talk, Kroto, considered the architect of nanoscience, will speak to Indiana State students at 4 p.m. about "Architecture in Nano Space."

The United States launched nanoscience and nanotechnology initiatives in 2000, and Zhang called the results "astonishing." He said nanoscience impacts our society from personalized drug delivery methods in nanomedicine to material engineering for planes, cars, cell phones and computers to the dinner table with food engineering.

"It allows doctors and engineers to develop new tools atom by atom and molecule by molecule," Zhang said about nanoscience. "It inspires an industrial revolution such as molecular foundry. It permits us to reveal microscopic pictures of how cells and tissues work and to build smaller and softer computers. If the person has a heart problem one can design special molecules to probe the condition. In short, it offers an infinite number of opportunities."

Kroto received the Nobel Prize along with Robert Curl Jr. and Richard Smalley, for the discovery of a new form of carbon called C60 Buckminsterfullerene.

"I never dreamed of winning the Nobel Prize - indeed I was very happy with my scientific work prior to the discovery of C60 in 1985," Kroto said in his Nobel autobiography. "The creation of the first molecules with carbon/phosphorous double bonds and the discovery of the carbon chains in space seemed (to me) like nice contributions and even if I did not do anything else as significant I would have felt quite successful as a scientist."

Kroto received his doctorate in molecular spectroscopy in 1964 from the University of Sheffield. Since 2004, he has been the Francis Eppes Professor of Chemistry at Florida State University.

Contact: Guoping Zahng, Indiana State University, associate professor of physics, at 812-237-2044 or

Writer: Jennifer Sicking, Indiana State University, assistant director of media relations, at 812-237-7972 or