James Jeans - Brian Cox TV - Horizon TV - Harry Kroto - Dara O’Briain TV - Jacob Bronowski - Utopia TV - Jim Al-Khalili TV -
Life exists in the universe only because the carbon atom possesses certain exceptional properties. James Jeans, An Introduction to the Kinetic Theory of Gases
From the universe’s earliest times carbon has been created inside ageing stars ... The chemistry of carbon allows the existence of a molecule that is able to replicate itself and pass information on from generation from generation. Brian Cox, Wonders of Life III: Endless Forms Most Beautiful, BBC 2013
Schon believed that the answer may not lie with silicon but rather something totally different: a transistor made from organic molecules – molecules based on carbon. Horizon: The Dark Secret of Hendrik Schon, BBC 2004
Carbon: its atoms are in every cell of our bodies, the heart of all that sustains life on Earth. By chance what science could not believe has been found – a new form of pure carbon. A new form of carbon, a new chemistry, new materials, new engineering, at a molecular scale. Horizon: Molecules With Sunglasses, BBC 1992
Diamond and graphite are the earthly forms of carbon. Its atoms can exist only as molecules. In living tissue they mix with hydrogen, nitrogen or oxygen to form organic molecules. ibid.
Harry [Kroto] worked with the students doing run after run of graphite vaporised by laser. His friend Bob Curl bounced ideas between them. [Richard] Smalley drifted in and out to see what they did. It was practical creative science at its best. They saw evidence of Harry’s long chains of carbon atoms captured fleetingly by the laser. They also saw something else: the clusters of sixty atoms that Exxon had seen but more of them. Again and again sixty was the cluster carbon preferred. ibid.
The design of lightweight spherical structures was the life’s work of the American architect Buckminster Fuller. His was the idea of the geodesic dome. ibid.
Hexagons round a pentagon – they automatically curve ... They named their structure buckminsterfullerene. Bucky-balls. Perfect symmetry in a molecule. ibid.
The goal was to make C-60, to be the first to hold it in his [Harry Kroto’s] hands. ibid.
Using an ultra-high pressure and high temperature machine they transformed a mixture of metal and carbon into diamond. Stuff: A Horizon Guide to Materials, BBC 2012
Synthetic diamonds have never become as popular as the natural form. ibid.
1992: they were stunned to find a third type [of carbon]. ibid.
Harry Kroto and his team repeatedly noticed clusters of sixty carbon atoms. ibid.
A new form of carbon – one that was round ... Buckyballs. ibid.
C-60 was a promising new material. ibid.
Other more intriguing forms of carbon. ibid.
It turns out not only to be beautifully symmetric but it’s a soccer ball too. Professor Harry Kroto
This most exciting breakthrough provides convincing evidence that the buckyball has, as I long suspected, existed since time immemorial in the dark recesses of our galaxy. Professor Harry Kroto
A thread of carbon nano-tubes – and what an exotic material it is. Dara O’Briain’s Science Club 6/6, BBC 2013
You will die but the carbon will not; its career does not end with you. It will return to the soil, and there a plant may take it up again in time, sending it once more on a cycle of plant and animal life. Jacob Bronowski
Why did you have him then? Nothing uses carbon like a first- world human, yet you created one. Why? Why would you do that? He will produce five hundred and fifty tons of carbon in his lifetime. That’s forty trucks’ worth. (Utopia & Carbon) Utopia s2e6, bloke to mother at airport, Channel 4 2014
There are more known compounds of carbon than any other element. Jim Al-Khalili, Chemistry: A Volatile History, BBC 2010