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Texas State Molecule?

Buckyball molecule - click to see more cultural symbols
Carbon 60 model ("Buckyball" )- photo © St Stev on Flickr -
noncommercial use permitted with attribution / no derivative works

Buckyball

Texas is the first state to consider designating an official state molecule. The "buckyball" (Buckminsterfullerene molecule) has been called "the most magnificent molecule known to man."

Fullerenes are a family of allotropes made entirely of carbon discovered in 1985 by a British scientist and two Rice University chemists (Sir Harry Kroto, Richard Smalley, and Robert Curl). In 1996 they were awarded a Nobel Prize for Chemistry for this discovery.

Spherical fullerenes are also called buckyballs (cylindrical ones are called carbon nanotubes or buckytubes). The Buckyball molecule has a range of important possible applications, including conducting electricity and delivering medicine to precise locations in the body. The name comes from the molecule's resemblance to R. Buckminster Fuller's geodesic dome.


Giant 'buckyball' at the University of Surrey, England - photo © St Stev on Flickr - noncommercial use permitted with attribution / no derivative works
Photo of Buckminsterfullerene molecule (buckyball)
Another model of Buckminsterfullerene molecule (buckyball) - photo © Gisela Giardino on Flickr - use permitted with attribution / share alike
Source:
Buckyballs & Nanotubes: IEEE Virtual Museum
Links:
Cool Science for Curious Kids: Howard Hughes Med. Inst.
Science Activities: Science Museum of Minnesota
Science Project Ideas: Science News for Kids
Science Project Guide: Internet Public Library Kidspace
Activities and Experiments: National Geographic Kids
Earth Science Explorer: Classroom of the Future
About Rainbows by Beverly T. Lynds
The Globe Program: Worldwide hands on Science
Science LinksDr. Labush's Links to Learning
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