Harold Kroto vince il Premio Italgas nel 1992
Sir Harold Walter Kroto
Winner for Chemistry
Harold W. Kroto was born at Bolton (England) in 1939. At present he is Royal Society Research Professor at the School of Chemistry and Molecular Sciences of the University of Sussex. He is member of the U.K Royal Society.
In the early seventies Professor Kroto and his co-workers initiated a research to investigate the preparation, characterisation and elucidation of the physical and chemical properties of new molecules and classes of molecules in which multiple bonds impart reactivity; in particular various spectroscopic techniques were applied to detect new species like phospho-alkane-alkynes, sulphidoborons, polyynes, etc. A fertile field of phosphorus chemistry has developed since this first pioneering discovery.
A direct consequence of the main spectroscopic programme was the discovery of the long-chain carbon molecules (cyanopolyynes) in space. Since the discovery was made, many more analogues chains have been detected in stars and in the interstellar medium. The new perspective that these molecules have yielded is leading to a revision of our understanding of the carbon content of space and to the conjecture that they were might form in chemical reactions in the circumstellar shells of red giant carbon stars.
The quest for an explanation of the origin of the carbon chains in space has led to interdisciplinary research programme in which have been welded main-stream synthetic chemistry, thermolytic decomposition, spectroscopy, microparticle and nucleation science and astrophysics.
The results of these studies have had spectacular conseguences, as the discovery in laboratory of the C60 molecule, the proposal of its closed spheroidal cage structure, named buckminsterfullerene, and most recently its extraction, isolation and the confirmation of its hollow cage structure, as well as the specification of the C70 molecule, another important member of fullerene family, with ellipsoidal cage structure.
This breakthrough has resulted in the birth of new, excting areas of carbon chemistry and materials science with most promising future consequences. There are revolutionary implications for fundamental aspects of organic and transition metal chemistry and boundless possibilities for new compounds with novel application.
For his relevant contributions to the development of this new field of research, the Prize Committee, unanimously, awarded Professor Harold W. Kroto the 1992 Italgas Prize for Chemistry.
Il libro di divulgazione scientifica pubblicato in Italia da Harold Kroto ha il seguente titolo: Molecole su misura, Di Renzo Editore