Buckyballs mourn throughout the galaxy
Buckyball research was actually done by a fairly small crowd. I wasn't a major player in the grand scheme of things -- did lots of photoemission spectroscopy on doped thin films, tracing the elusive Fermi edge for the superconductivity people. But I met Rick, and even argued science with him. Three days before he and his colleagues won the Nobel Prize. (Not going into all the gory details, he was speculating about something that I had actually done the experiment on -- but not published -- and data trumps theory. Even if the data comes from a scruffy postdoc and the theory comes from someone outstanding like Rick Smalley. I love science ...)
He had a dry wit and a face that rarely showed emotion. Sometimes the edges of the eyes crinkled and the ends of his mouth turned up a few millimeters -- you had to watch carefully. And anyone who constructs a molecular model using toothpicks and gummy bears is all right in my book.
He will be missed.