The Creative Science Centre

A Buckyball Sculpture - more details 1997

The Angmering School (West Sussex) was the first school in the world to make C60, Buckminsterfullerene - two years before the Nobel prize was awarded to the scientists who discovered it ! To commemorate this outstanding achievement the students at the school decided to build a giant 'buckyball' sculpture, to be fixed in pride of place at the entrance of the school. The Creative Science Centre was involved throughout the project.

Deciding on the design
Students, teachers and the CSC discussed various design strategies making and testing models as we went along. We eventually decided on a plastic sheet construction which seemed to be the best trade off between costs, component availability and ease of construction.

Choosing the materials
Polystyrene sheet (3 mm thick) was brought from a standard artist suppliers and cut up into 4 or 5 bars (500 x 120 mm, 60 red and 30 white). A combination of nuts, bolts, plastic rivets and cement were used to join the bars together.

This was done in two days at the end of the 1997 summer term as part of an activities week. The red bars were glued together to form regular pentagons. Three holes were drilled at every corner of the pentagons. The white bars were then drilled and bolted one-by-one to the pentagons eventually forming the completed ball. The final structure was light weight, strong and looked extremely impressive. Unfortunatly the sculpture did not survive the storms and had to be taken down - a new one is planned.

'Students model is a link with Nobel Prize winners', West Sussex Gazette, July 24, 1997.
'The beautiful Buckyball', Littlehampton Gazette, August 1997.
'Buckyball molecule created', West Sussex Gazette, May 21, 1998.
'Creative electronics', University of Sussex Bulletin, Oct. 24th 1997.
'Buckyballs and Beyond', Science Museum handout, 6 May - 11 Oct. 1998

The design team :
Teachers - Jan Meering (chemistry), Carrie Abbott (craft, design and technology), Gemma Ellis (physics).
Students - 20 Year Seven Pupils
CSC - Jonathan Hare, Sussex University
Funding - The Salters Institute

The pictures show various stages of the project unfolding ...

Page last update: June 1999
Contents are copyright Creative Science Centre, University of Sussex.


Dr Jonathan Hare, The University of Sussex
Brighton, East Sussex. BN1 9QJ

home | diary | whats on | CSC summary | latest news