Buckyballs, short for buckminsterfullerenes, were a form of carbon that had 60 atoms arranged in a hollow sphere and whose discovery in 1985 opened the way for the development of the field of nanotechnology.
Smalley, fellow Rice chemist Robert Curl and British chemist Harold Kroto shared the prize for their work on buckyballs, which were named for architect and geodesic dome inventor Buckminster Fuller.
After winning the Nobel, Smalley became a strong advocate for the development of nanotechnology as a means of solving global problems, particularly in the field of energy.
"We are about to be able to build things that work on the smallest possible length scales, atom by atom, with the ultimate level of finesse," Smalley told the U.S. House of Representatives in 1999 during testimony in support of the National Nanotechnology Initiative.
Without his invention Andromeda would have been alot different.