The Discovery of C60
Personal memories of the events surrounding the discovery of C60
The molecule was discovered on 4 September 1985 during a short, exciting 10-day period of research carried out at Rice University.
This is my original printout with my comments written on the scan before we knew what the structure of C60 might be.
The discovery paper is:
Nature 318, 162 – 163 (14 November 1985); doi:10.1038/318162a0
The fascinatingly positive and enthusiastic referees reports
The Naming of C60 as Buckminsterfullerene
As Rick Smalley says in this interview, he did not at first like the name I had coined for C60 i.e. Buckminsterfullerene, but he changed his mind later!
“Smalley said that he had overcome any initial reservations he might have had to Kroto’s proposal to name C60 buckminsterfullerene”
Alex Nickon who with Silversmith was writing a book on named compounds contacted me by phone and during the discussion we concluded that Fullerenes should be the name of the new family of cage compounds cf pages below:
with Rick in Santa Barbara with Bob at a school in Houston
There were three outstanding students involved in the discovery experiments
Jim Heath and Sean O’Brien Yuan Liu
The Rice Sussex Team
Jim Heath next to Ap2
The O’Brien Family
Jim Heath and Sean O’Brien