One of Rice University's most distinguished and well-respected faculty members, Professor Robert F. Curl, Jr., will be speaking at Sigma-Aldrich May 14 on "The Discovery of Fullerenes and Emerging Nanotechnology in Medicine." Professor Curl is best known for his co-discovery of fullerenes, which won him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1996. The discovery of fullerenes - a third form of carbon, in addition to graphite and diamonds - paved the way for the emergence of nanotechnology, one of the fastest growing industries today. Sigma-Aldrich is a St. Louis-based, global leader in Life Science and High Technology.
According to Professor Curl, the discovery of fullerenes was a " ... happy accident. We discovered that molecules with cage structures consisting of pure carbon are formed when carbon vapour is allowed to condense under the right conditions. The subsequent discovery ... to produce these compounds in useful quantities led to an explosion of research on their properties and potential uses." Today, nanotechnology is finding its way into a wide range of everyday products - from automobiles to clothing - as well as a variety of industries such as medicine, the focus of Professor Curl's presentation at Sigma-Aldrich.
"We are very honoured to have Professor Curl visit us," said David H. Harvey, Sigma-Aldrich Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. "His work leading to the emergence of nanotechnology is a prime example of how scientific curiosity can lead to breakthroughs that enhance the quality of life. At Sigma-Aldrich, we share that drive to always seek a better way."