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Texas State Molecule (unofficial)

Buckyball molecule - click to see more cultural symbols
Carbon 60 model ("Buckyball") - photo © St Stev on Flickr - noncommercial use
permitted with attribution / no derivative works. See All State Cultural Symbols.

Buckyball

Texas is the first state to consider designating a molecule as an official state symbol. The "buckyball" (Buckminsterfullerene molecule) has been called "the most magnificent molecule known to man."

Fullerenes (a family of allotropes made entirely of carbon) were discovered in 1985 by a British scientist and two Rice University chemists; Sir Harry Kroto, Richard Smalley, and Robert Curl (Rice University is located in Houston, Texas). In 1996 they were awarded a Nobel Prize for Chemistry for this discovery.

Spherical fullerenes are also called buckyballs (cylindrical ones are called carbon nanotubes or buckytubes). The Buckyball molecule has a range of important possible applications, including conducting electricity and delivering medicine to precise locations in the body. The name comes from the molecule's resemblance to R. Buckminster Fuller's geodesic dome.

Giant 'buckyball' - click to see all cultural symbols
Giant 'buckyball' at the University of Surrey, England - photo © St Stev on Flickr - noncommercial use permitted with attribution / no derivative works. See All State Cultural Symbols.
Model of Buckminsterfullerene molecule (buckyball)- click for more cultural symbols
Another model of Buckminsterfullerene molecule (buckyball) - photo © Gisela Giardino on Flickr - use permitted with attribution / share alike. See All State Cultural Symbols.
Source:
Links:
Cool Science for Curious Kids: Howard Hughes Med. Inst.
Science Activities: Science Museum of Minnesota
Science Project Guide: Internet Public Library Kidspace
Earth Science Explorer: Classroom of the Future
All State Cultural Symbols

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Texas Symbols & Icons:

air force - tie
footwear - music  
artist - bird
bread - cooking  
dinosaur - dog  
dish - snack
fabric - tartan
folk dance
fish - insect
flag - pledge
flower - plant
gem - stone
hall of fame
instrument
 

mammal 1-2-3  
sport - vehicle
metal - molecule
name - nickname
pastry 1 2 - nut
pepper 1-2 - fruit
plays - railroad
reptile - shell
seal -quarter - motto
ship -tall ship
shrub 1-2
song 1-2
tree -grass -soil
vegetable
 

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