An Arts Project Uncovering an Important Scientific Advance

Harold Kroto
Proceedings of Bridges 2013: Mathematics, Music, Art, Architecture, Culture (2013)
Pages 1–8 Regular Papers


Quite unexpectedly, a fun project to build a molecular model as a sculpture to display in our laboratory inadvertently contributed to our understanding of carbon particles at nanoscale dimensions. Heretofore attempts to explain the observations had been based on erroneous assumptions of chemico-structural behaviour. Building physical models of large Fullerene carbon cages based on Goldberg polyhedra indicted that the surface of the carbon particles would not in general be spherical and explained the structures previously observed but not understood. This seems to be a rare example of art contributing to the scientific knowledge base.