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C60 Buckminsterfullerene

c60 Buckminsterfullerene

60 carbon atoms are bonded in a cage of 20 hexagons and 12 pentagons, forming what is known as the Truncated Icosahedron, one of the 13 Archimedian solids. Most people recognize this shape as the shape of a soccer ball, but it also happens to be the shape of c60, a new allotrope of carbon discovered in 1985. This cage of carbon atoms has come to be known as a “Bucky Ball” or “buckminsterfullerene” because of Buckminster Fuller’s influence on the scientists who discovered it - Kroto, Curl and Smalley - who went on to win the Nobel prize in 1996 for their discovery.

C60 is found throughout the cosmos, from nebulae to stars and has been generated in a lab through laser-evaporation of graphite. This arc-generated soot has been touted as being a very stable cage structure that can be harder than diamond, is hydrophobic, and has potential uses in medicine, cosmetics, nanotechnology, and photovoltaics among other fields of study. 

"The carbon in our body originated in space. Indeed, we now know that it was ejected from some star a long, long time ago and then was reprocessed and ended up on the Earth's biosphere. What is absolutely fascinating and certainly something that excited me when I first discovered it, is that every one of us is made of carbon, therefore every one of us is made of stardust... "One thing they are not so sure of is what is the form of that dust, what is the structure. How does the carbon nucleate to form these that form these little wudges that go on to grow into planets?" -Harold Kroto

Graphene and carbon nanotubes are two more examples of Carbon discoveries that shook up the science world and sparked deeper interest in nano materials. Graphene is a single-atom-thick Hexagonal lattice of carbon while carbon nanotubes are essentially graphene rolled into tubes. The potential of these strong nano materials is being explored in medicine, photovoltaics, batteries, electronics, and many other fields of study. These newly discovered materials are great examples of how nature self-organizes into simple geometric relationships that exhibit the highest structural integrity while accomplishing diverse life-support solutions, using minimum energy. 

Graphene, Fullerene, Nanotubes

FIG. 1 Egyptian Journal of Chemistry

"Carbon has an incredible ability to spontaneously assemble to form these objects. That's what we really discovered. The more we think about that, and how neat these objects are, the more we are beginning to realize that we can find ways of tricking nature in to self assembling carbon into other fullerene-like shapes as well, and that these new materials may well have major practical as well as theoretical significance. "In fact, it emerges that buckyball was (and is) a sort of Rosetta Stone of what we now realize is an infinity of new structures made of carbon one way or another. . . And the deciphering of the C60 Rosetta Stone has led us to start dreaming of all sorts of new structures that truly are geodesic architecture on a nanometer scale, and to scheme about how to make them." - Richard Smalley  "From Tubes to Ropes" 

Buckminster Fuller wrote Synergetics 1 & 2 as an exploration in the geometry of thinking; a discovery of nature's coordinate system and the patterns of integrity that humans could employ for greater life support using less energy. In a passage from Synergetics, written years before the discovery of c60, Fuller nearly prophesizes his recognition in Buckminsterfullerene:

986.474  This surmise regarding nature's most-economical, least-effort design strategy has been further verified by nature's own use of the same geodesics mathematics as that which I discovered and employed in my domes. Nature has been using these mathematical principles for eternity. Humans were unaware of that fact. I discovered these design strategies only as heretofore related, as an inadvertent by-product of my deliberately undertaking to find nature's coordination system. That nature was manifesting icosahedral and VE coordinate patterning was only discovered by other scientists after I had found and demonstrated geodesic structuring, which employed the synergetics' coordinate-system strategies. This discovery by others that my discovery of geodesic mathematics was also the coordinate system being manifest by nature occurred after I had built hundreds of geodesic structures around the world and their pictures were widely published.


Synergetics 1 & 2 by Buckminster Fuller

Bonnie Devarco's "Invisible Architecture"

The applications of buckminsterfullerene C60 and derivatives in orthopaedic research


Graphene’s Structure, Synthesis and Characterization; a brief review



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