LUCKY STARS: Harold Kroto was studying carbon clusters when he and coworkers discovered buckyballs.
Like many of their predecessors, the winners of the 1996 Nobel Prizes in science have found that the media attention accompanying the honor provides an excellent opportunity to speak out on behalf of important causes. Last month, five of the eight newly named science laureates used their "bully pulpit" to voice concerns about research funding at a National Science Foundation news conference. The five winners-all Americans who have been funded by NSF-expressed fears that the funding sources that made their prize-winning research possible are drying up.
The October 17 conference occurred days after the Nobel recipients were announced. In chemistry, three researchers were honored for discoveries that helped establish a new genre of carbon-based materials known as buckminsterfullerenes, or buckyballs. Two immunologists were cited for revealing how T cells methodically attack virus infected cells. Three...