Sheffield school pupils learn about Nobel Prize winner Sir Harry Kroto

20th June 2017

School pupils ventured on an intriguing journey of scientific adventure today (Wednesday 14 June 2017) in a workshop hosted in memory of an internationally renowned Nobel Prize winner and University of Sheffield graduate Sir Harry Kroto.

The Sir Harry Kroto Buckyball workshop is held annually by the University of Sheffield, and this year welcomed 35 Year 7 pupils from Chaucer School in Sheffield. Sir Harry was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1996 for his discovery of a new form of carbon: Buckyballs. Buckyballs are shaped like a traditional football and the carbon fullerene molecules are made of pentagons and hexagons. During the hands-on workshop, PhD students from the University of Sheffield's Department of Chemistry worked with the pupils to help them build their own model Buckyballs. The aim of the activity was to give pupils the chance to learn about the Buckyball's interesting properties and relate these to properties of other structures made from carbon - like graphite pencils and diamond necklaces. The Chaucer School pupils also created brightly coloured polymer slime to demonstrate the idea of joining small molecules together to form long chain polymers, and used another kind of chemical reaction to make their very own bath bombs. Sir Harry Kroto passed away in April 2016, at the age of 76.  He used to run the Buckyballs workshops as part of engaging young people in the University of Sheffield's Kroto Research Institute . The University is continuing to progress the work of the Kroto Institute and hold Buckyball workshops in Sir Harry's memory. Peter Goodliffe, Outreach Coordinator at the University of Sheffield, said: -This is a unique opportunity for pupils from local schools to work with staff and students from the University of Sheffield and learn more about renowned scientist Professor Sir Harold Kroto, who was recognised at the highest level for his achievements in chemistry and scientific discovery. -We hope the day will spark their interest and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.

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