Sir Harold Walter Kroto (1939 – 2016)

  • Author: ChemViews
  • Published Date: 02 May 2016
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
thumbnail image: Sir Harold Walter Kroto (1939 – 2016)

Sir Harold Walter Kroto, 1996 Chemistry Nobel Laureate and co-discoverer of fullerenes, passed away on April 30, 2016.

Professor Kroto's research focused on nanoscience and novel carbon materials, especially the fullerenes, which he discovered in 1985 together with Robert Curl and Richard Smalley. For this discovery, they were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1996. Kroto's interests also included astrochemistry, quantum chemistry, and the use of spectroscopy to find and characterize short-lived chemical species. Apart from research, Kroto also sucessfully worked on graphic designs and created, e.g., stamps and book covers, often with chemical themes.

Harold Walter Kroto studied chemistry at Sheffield University, UK, where he received his Ph.D. in 1964 for work on molecular spectroscopy. After postdoctoral research at the National Research Council, Ottawa, Canada, he spent a year working at the Bell Telephone Laboratories, Murray Hill, NJ, USA. In 1967, Kroto joined the University of Sussex, Brighton, UK, where he became Lecturer in 1968, Reader in 1977, and Professor in 1985. In 2004, he moved to Florida State University, Tallahassee, USA, as Francis Eppes Professor of Chemistry.

In 1996, Professor Kroto was knighted for his contributions to chemistry and later that year, received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society, a Foreign Associate of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and served as President of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), UK, from 2002 to 2004. Among many other honors, Kroto received the Longstaff Medal of the RSC in 1993, the Copley Medal of the Royal Society, London, UK, in 2002, and numerous honorary doctorates.

Selected Publications


Also of Interest

  • Sketches of Science,
    Council for the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings,
    ChemViews Mag. 2015.
    What happens when you ask a Nobel Laureate to draw their research in crayon?




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