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Robert F. Curl, Jr.

Robert F. Curl, Jr.AKA Robert Floyd Curl, Jr.

Born: 23-Aug-1933
Birthplace: Alice, TX

Gender: Male
Religion: Methodist
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Chemist
Party Affiliation: Democratic

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Co-Discovered fullerines

American scientist Robert F. Curl, Jr. has said that his interest in chemistry was sparked by receiving a chemistry set as a Christmas present when he was nine years old. He studied at Rice University and the University of California at Berkeley, and in 1985 he was a co-discoverer of fullerenes, a sixty-atom form of carbon (C60) that is molecularly distinct from the other carbons, diamond and graphite. C60's atoms are arranged in hexagons and pentagons reminiscent of R. Buckminster Fuller's geodesic domes, and are named buckminsterfullerenes (or more informally, "buckyballs") in his honor. Curl shared the 1996 Nobel Prize for Chemistry with the co-discoverers of fullerenes, his colleague at Rice University, Richard E. Smalley, and a more distant collaborator at the University of Sussex, Sir Harold Kroto. Since conducting his Nobel Prizewinning work, his more recent research has focused on DNA genotyping and sequencing instrumentation, environmental monitoring, free radicals, gas phase chemical kinetics, and infrared laser spectroscopy.

Father: Robert Floyd Curl (Methodist minister, b. 1897, d. 1971)
Mother: Lessie Waldene Merritt Floyd (housewife, b. 1893, m. 8-Jun-1922, d. 1979)
Sister: Mary Gessner Curl Kurio (b. 1924)
Wife: Jonel Whipple (m. 21-Dec-1955, two sons)
Son: Michael
Son: David

    High School: William Adams High School, Alice, TX (1950)
    University: BS Chemistry, Rice University (1954)
    University: PhD Chemistry, University of California at Berkeley (1957)
    Scholar: Microwave Spectroscopy, Harvard University (1957-58)
    Teacher: Chemistry, Rice University (1958-67)
    Professor: Chemistry, Rice University (1967-96)
    Professor: Wiess Professor of Natural Sciences, Rice University (1996-2002)
    Professor: University Professor, Rice University (2003-)

    IME James Clayton Prize 1957 (with Kenneth S. Pitzer)
    EGU Alexander von Humboldt Medal 1972
    APS International Prize for New Materials Research 1992 (with Harold Kroto and R. E. Smalley)
    Nobel Prize for Chemistry 1996 (with Sir Harold Kroto and Richard E. Smalley)
    Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    European Academy of Arts, Sciences, and Humanities
    National Research Council of Canada
    National Academy of Sciences
    National Science Foundation Fellowship
    Optical Society of America
    Royal Society of New Zealand Foreign Member
    National Institute of Standards and Technology
    Phi Beta Kappa Society
    Phi Lambda Upsilon Chemistry Honor Society
    Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society
    Democratic National Committee
    John Kerry for President

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