Steve Acquah Co-hosts a Buckyball Workshop for Students as Part of the Celebrations Unveiling the Royal Society of Chemistry Chemical Landmark Blue Plaque

Steve Acquah, an adjunct associate research professor of chemistry, the director of GEOSET, and the Digital Media Lab coordinator at the W.E.B. Du Bois Library, co-hosted a workshop for around 200 school children with the physicist, science communicator and television presenter Jonathan Hare at Sussex University in the United Kingdom on June 17. The Buckyball workshop formed part of the events celebrating the unveiling of the Royal Society of Chemistry Chemical Landmark Blue Plaque in honor of the late Nobel Laureate Professor Sir Harold W. Kroto at Sussex University, where he conducted his research. Steve and Jonathan completed their doctorates with Kroto at Sussex University and have run Buckyball workshops for students worldwide.

NEWS Steve Acquah with Buckyball
Steve Acquah holding a model of a Buckyball next to the Harold Kroto RSC Chemical Landmark Blue Plaque.

About Harold Kroto

Sir Harold Kroto received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1996 with Professor Robert F. Curl, Jr., Rice University, and Professor Richard E. Smalley, Rice University, for their discovery of fullerenes. Kroto worked on the laser vaporization of carbon to simulate the chemistry of stars and interstellar space. These experiments led to the discovery of C60 (Buckminsterfullerene, Buckyball), an allotrope of carbon.

“Harold Kroto really loved the Buckyball workshops and had held many of them around the world. He would engage with the students, and enjoyed seeing the spark of excitement in them when they finished building the Buckyball model,” said Acquah. “ It was good to reconnect with former members of the Kroto Research Group and talk about my current chemistry research and work at the Digital Media Lab at UMass Amherst. 3D printing, extended reality and audio/video productions are some of the ways we are continuing to promote science communication.”

The Royal Society of Chemistry Chemical Landmark Blue Plaque

NEWS Blue plaque

The Blue Plaque was unveiled by Lady Margaret Kroto and her son Stephen with guests including Professor Rachel Mills, Provost of the University of Sussex, Professor Tom Welton, President of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and Lizzie Deane, the Mayor of Brighton and Hove. During the afternoon, former research group students and colleagues talked about their work and memories of Kroto with a showing of the tribute video produced by Steve Acquah after Kroto’s passing.

The Chemical Landmarks Scheme by the Royal Society of Chemistry helps raise awareness of where individuals, teams, and collaborative efforts by members of the chemistry community have contributed significantly to the impact of science.

Global Educational Outreach for Science Engineering and Technology (GEOSET)

Sir Harold Kroto was also known for his contributions to science outreach. He worked with the BBC Education Producer Patric Reams to start the Vega Science Trust in 1994 to communicate science to the public through television. In 2006 he worked with Steve Acquah and Colin Byfleet, a lecturer at Florida State University, to establish the Global Educational Outreach for Science Engineering and Technology (GEOSET) initiative, which took advantage of the internet to provide a free resource of educational videos.

In April, Grace Rogers was announced as the recipient of the 2022 Sir Harold W. Kroto and Steve Acquah GEOSET Award at UMass Amherst. Steve Acquah established the award to continue the late Nobel Laureate’s legacy in research and outreach. It is given each year to a chemistry major who has demonstrated excellence in science communication through digital media.

To learn more about Acquah’s work with Chemistry and the Digital Media Lab, visit: