Richard E. Smalley, Ph.D.
Member, University of Chicago Board of Governors for Argonne National Laboratory
University Professor, Hackerman Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Physics, Rice University

 
 
Much honored for his role in the discovery and characterization of fullerenes, the third elemental form of carbon after graphite and diamond, Nobel Laureate (Chemistry 1996) Richard Smalley focuses his research on buckytubes; elongated fullerenes that are essentially a new high-tech polymer, following on from nylon, polypropylene and Kevlar. But unlike any of these previous wonder polymers, buckytubes conduct electricity and are likely to find applications in nearly every technology where electrons flow. In February 2000, this research led to the start-up of a new company, Carbon Nanotechnologies, Inc., which is now developing large-scale production and applications of this material. Smalley chairs the company.

Smalley received his B.S. in 1965 from the University of Michigan. After an intervening four-year period as a research chem ist at Shell, he earned a Masters Degree in 1971 and a Ph.D. in 1973 from Princeton University. During a postdoctoral period with Lennard Wharton and Donald Levy at the University of Chicago, he pioneered what has become one of the most powerful techniques in chem ical physics, supersonic beam laser spectroscopy. He joined the faculty of Rice University in 1976 as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry. In 1981, he became a Professor, and was named to the Gene and Norman Hackerman Chair in Chemistry in 1982. He founded the Rice Quantum Institute in 1979 and served as its Chairman for ten years from 1986 to 1996. In 1990, he became a Professor in the Department of Physics. Smalley was the founding Director of the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology at Rice in 1996 and was appointed University Professor in 2002. He is currently serving as Director of the Carbon Nanotechnology Laboratory at Rice.

In 1990, Smalley was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and in 1991 to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, where he was elected a fellow in 2003. He is also a fellow of the American Physical Society. In addition to the Nobel Prize, he has received the 1991 Irving Langmuir Prize in Chemical Physics, the 1992 International Prize for New Materials, the 1992 E.O. Lawrence Award of the U.S. Department of Energy, the 1992 Robert A. Welch Award in Chemistry, the 1993 William H. Nichols Medal of the American Chemical Society, the 1993 John Scott Award of the City of Philadelphia, the 1994 Europhysics Prize, the 1994 Harrison Howe Award, the 1995 Madison Marshall Award, the 1996 Franklin Medal, the Distinguished Public Service Medal awarded by the U.S. Department of the Navy in 1997, the 2002 Glenn T. Seaborg Medal and the 2003 Lifetime Achievement Award of Small Times Magazine.

Smalley was first named to the Argonne Board of Governors in 2004