The Year 7 Scholars enjoyed a fascinating talk by Dr Hill of the Chemistry Department about the chemistry of spheres, in particular the work of Harry Kroto in the generation of Buckminsterfullerene (Carbon 60) in 1984. Professor Kroto’s early work looked at small unstable carbon-containing molecules in the lab, but this soon extended to the field of astrochemistry where he started to identify unusual molecules in Space. Spurred by these dual interests, and collaborating with his American co-workers, he discovered C60 entirely by chance. These so called buckyball molecules had been theoretically predicted years before but were now finally realised. Since this time, many fullerene structures have been discovered, and these have fuelled the development Nanoscience that is now so important to our collective futures
Dr Hill used a variety of visual aids to demonstrate various molecular structures and at the end of the lesson gave the students a kit with which to make their own C60 molecules. He drew some very interesting comparisons with the actor Sir Ian McKellen who was a fellow student of Harry’s at Bolton School and the way their careers had progressed. Dr Hill commended Harry’s advice to all students to follow their interests with enthusiasm and passion and this is something the Scholarship Programme heartily endorses!