Sheffield school pupils learn about Nobel Prize winner Sir Harry Kroto

Sir Harry Kroto Buckyball workshop

School pupils ventured on an intriguing journey of scientific adventure yesterday (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.

This is a unique opportunity for pupils from local schools to work with staff and students from the University and learn more about renowned scientist Professor Sir Harold Kroto.

Peter Goodliffe, University of 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."

Sir Harry Kroto Buckyball workshop

Sir Harry Kroto Buckyball workshop: Chaucer School in Sheffield

Additional information

The University of Sheffield
With almost 27,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2017 and was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education in 2014. In the last decade it has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.

Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.


Amy Pullan
Media Relations Officer
University of Sheffield
0114 222 9859