LONDON – Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, two researchers who began their careers in Russia, have been awarded the 2010 Nobel prize for physics "for groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene."
Geim and Novoselov, both now professors at the University of Manchester, extracted graphene from a piece of graphite using regular adhesive tape, according to the Nobel organization. They were able to obtain a flake of carbon in the graphene form, which at the time, 2004, was thought to be unstable, unlike the fullerene C60 allotrope where the carbon sheet is wrapped up into ball.
However, graphene is the world’s thinnest material and is also the strongest, while being stiff and yet flexible and extremely good conductor of heat and electricity.
Electrons travel further in graphene than in any other material, opening up a range of electronic applications. These include: graphene transistors that could help communications technologies exploit the terahertz part of the electromagnetic spectrum; high performance graphene-based integrated circuits and toxin and pollution sensors that are more sensitive than those currently available.
Graphene is also suitable for use in touch screens and optical applications and holds out promise for the creation of thin, elastic, lightweight composite materials
Konstantin Novoselov, 36, first worked with Andre Geim, 51, as a PhD-student in the Netherlands. He subsequently followed Geim to the United Kingdom. Both of them originally studied and began their careers as physicists in Russia. The laureates share the SEK 10 million prize (about $1.5 million) equally.
Professor David Delpy, chief executive of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, said: "This work represents an enormously important scientific development; an exciting new material that has a huge range of applications and will no doubt bring significant benefits to the U.K. economy. EPSRC has been supporting research by Professor Geim and his group for nearly 10 years and our latest grant has enabled the U.K. to retain the key academic and research staff behind this discovery, who might otherwise have been lost to foreign institutions."
This is quite amazing. Using a scotch tape to peel off a few carbon atoms, and here you go: Nobel prize (tongue firmly in cheek, I am sure there was more to it)...but the fact that you can do serious science with multimillion dollar funding and army of grad students is remarkable! Kris
You gotta love it; two guys get the Nobel Prize for pencil lead and Scotch tape! Seriously, this is the start of something huge! Carbon appears to be poised to challenge that other column 4 element silicon for dominance in electronics, so more power to Geim and Novoselov. Sure beats Obama's Nobel Peace Prize for his "potential". Don't get me started...
I went to his talk once and was truly impressed by sense of humor. What I liked most was his comparison of pure science and real world application. He said he once went to a dolphin watch in Mediterranean and everybody was ensnared by the beautiful sunset and playful dolphins until one child shouted "Mom, can we eat them?" :)
It's interesting to note that "playfulness is one of their hallmarks", according to the Nobel prize committee description. Maybe that's what we need to acknowledge. The 2010 physics was awarded comparatively quickly after the two laureates were able to extract the graphene from a piece of graphite in 2004 and show that such thin crystalline materials can be stable. Meanwhile, Andre Geim was awarded the Ig nobel prize in 2000; that prize is intended to "make people laugh first and think second". He managed to make a frog levitate in a magnetic field, considered an ingenious way of illustrating the principles of physics. More power to laughter!
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