Erasmus medal awarded for 'Buckminster fullerene' discovery

October 11, 2002

Brussels, 10 Oct 2002

The Academia Europaea has awarded the 2002 Erasmus medal to Professor Harold Kroto for his part in the discovery of a new form of carbon.

One of the most common elements in the universe, carbon has two common forms, well known to most people: diamond and graphite. But in 1985, when Harold Kroto and his colleagues found a completely new form of 60 Carbon atoms arranged in an icosahedron (subsequently called Buckminster fullerene), it was a major discovery - particularly as it was first located in interstellar space.

Buckminster fullerenes have since been synthesised in laboratories, and are the subjects of experiments all over the world, finding applications in fields as diverse as electronics and drug delivery.

'In a world that has come to depend ever increasingly on the outcomes of new science, [...] scientists like Harry Kroto, who combine the highest levels of scientific achievement with a capacity to share their enthusiasm with others, contribute uniquely to modern society' said the citation for the medal.

The Academia Europaea is an international association of individual scientists and scholars, aiming to promote learning, education and research. The Erasmus medal is awarded by the Academia to eminent members whose individual scholarship has made a substantial contribution to European excellence across the sciences, humanities and letters.

For further information, please consult

CORDIS RTD-NEWS/© European Communities, 2001

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