New Carbon Molecule exposed at CF

Sir Henry Kroto expresses his interest in discovering a new carbon molecule.

Sir Henry Kroto expresses his interest in discovering a new carbon molecule.

A friend and inspiration to students, faculty and visitors walked through CF’s doors on Feb. 24.

From 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., a lecture from Dr. Sir Harold Kroto, 75, took place at CF in the Ewers Century Center. The lecture was free and open to the public. He talked about his discovery of Carbon60 (C-60), a pure form of carbon, and how his life has led up to where it is now.

When Kroto was a young boy, his father always pushed him in his education. He would make Kroto stay up until midnight to do homework, but if he did not finish it, his father would do his homework for him.

As a kid, Kroto did not wish to be a scientist; he had another dream job in mind. He wanted to be Superman.

Continuing on in his education, two of his teachers in high school and a lecturer in college also encouraged and supported him. They especially got him interested in the science field, which he eventually pursued.

In college, he played tennis, did photography, created logos and collected graphics. He saw university as a time where students can experiment with where he or she wants to go in life.

“It’s easier to test the waters in a university,” Kroto said.

Although Kroto eventually came to be a world-known scientist, he did not see himself walking up on stage to receive a Nobel Prize in chemistry someday. He didn’t see himself as Superman at that point either.

“I thought I would go into graphic art and design,” he said.

Kroto explained that he had to search for what he wanted to do with his life. He said students will always have to do the same thing as well, but it will be beneficial to him or her in the long run.

“If you find your position in life, work becomes a lot easier,” he said. “Work becomes more like play.”

After his college years, he worked with some of his colleagues in order to come to a discovery of C-60. He received his Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1996 with Robert Curl Jr. and Richard Smalley.

“C-60 was always there,” he said. “It was lurking in the dark streets of the galaxy.”

During his experience of the science field, he met many people from around the world. What he noticed most was that people from totally different countries surrounded him. Science never changed no matter where a person came from.

“It tells you something,” he said. “We’re from everywhere—Spain, UK, Ireland…”

In the past two years, Kroto has given 157 lectures around the world. Philosophy and humanities professor Dr. Scott Olsen knew Kroto would be a good person to bring to CF.

“It’s incredible with what [Kroto will] do with [his] students, and that’s why I thought it would be great to bring him to us,” Olsen said.

Laughter and applause filled the conference center during the entire presentation and during question time. One student, radiology major Stephanie English, took note on the humor Kroto brought to the lecture.

“I thought it was interesting, and it was funny,” she said.

Sometimes, Kroto realized that science was a lot harder than he expected it to be. He stuck through with his dream because he enjoyed it no matter how hard it became.

“If I knew science was hard work, I would’ve picked something else,” he said.

The presentation was hosted by CF’s Humanities and Social Sciences Department. The presentation was sponsored by the CF Foundation, Bank of America, Interfaith Alliance of Marion County and the Ocala Star-Banner.

By: Emily Kelley

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