Dewdrops are formed during cooling of water vapour. When graphite vapour is cooled, carbon atom “droplets” are also formed. These carbon balls were found in 1985.

Sixty carbon atoms form a sphere with a striking similarity to a football cover reduced by 200 million times. As the ball, the carbon molecule is hollow inside. Due to its similarity, researchers wanted to call it footballene, but then, honouring the American architect and inventor Fuller, it was named fullerene С60.

Fullerene is an extraordinary molecule. In 2006, the Gazette of the Russian Academy of Sciences published the paper Beauty and elegance in the world of molecules. In this paper, chemists chose the most charming “Miss Molecule”. The title of the Most beautiful molecule of the Universe was awarded to the fullerene molecule С60. After its discovery, many academics could not believe that such a high-symmetrical molecule could ever exist – it has a symmetry found only in live nature!

Flowers with five petals, sea stars, and human biomolecules are monosymmetrical. The fullerene С60 molecule has six axes of symmetry. This is the only molecule in nature with such unique symmetry.

It is worthy of note that these carbon molecules were found first in a laboratory and only then in nature. They were found in the North Karelia shungites as well as in the fulgurites in the U.S.A. and India. Besides, they are present in some grades of activated carbon. In nature, fullerenes are formed by lightning bolts, natural gas combustion and volcano eruptions. Fullerenes were found in big amounts in space: in 2010, as gas, and in 2012, as solids. In the summer of 2011, researchers published the results of investigating samples of air above the Mediterranean Sea. Fullerenes were found in all 43 air samples taken from Barcelona to Istanbul.