Carbon 60 model ("Buckyball" molecule); photo by St Stev on Flickr (noncommercial use permitted with attribution / no derivative works).
Unofficial State Molecule of Texas
Texas is the first state to consider designating a molecule as an official state symbol; the buckyball molecule. All Texas Symbols
What is the Buckyball?
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.