The Fullerenes: New Horizons for the Chemistry, Physics and Astrophysics of Carbon

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In 1985, Buckminsterfullerene (fullerene-60) C60 was discovered serendipitously during graphite laser vaporisation experiments designed to simulate the chemistry in a red giant carbon star. The molecule was isolated for the first time in macroscopic amounts in 1990, a breakthrough which triggered an explosion of research into its chemical and physical properties. The fullerenes hold great potential for material science applications, such as semiconductors and microscopic engineering, and as new compounds for pharmaceuticals, polymers and the chemical industry. In October 1992, a Discussion Meeting of the Royal Society entitled A Post-Buckminsterfullerene View of the Chemistry, Physics and Astrophysics of Carbon, organised by H. W. Kroto, A. L. Makay, G. Turner and D. R. M. Walton, was held to celebrate this exciting advance. The scientists who played key roles in the discovery and who are currently uncovering fascinating problems and the implications of this elegant molecule presented the papers published in this book.