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Physics Nobel honors the creative use of adhesive tape
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Written by Daniel   
Tuesday, 05 October 2010 18:13

From Ars Technica

Physics Nobel honors the creative use of adhesive tape

"When I got the telephone call, I thought, 'oh shit!'" That call came from Sweden and it was intended to inform its recipient, Andre Geim, that he and his former grad student, Konstantin Novoselov, had won this year's Nobel Prize in Physics. The pair were honored for helping develop a simple technique that allowed the isolation of graphene, a sheet of carbon a single atom thick. Graphene has some unusual properties: it's nearly transparent; by volume, it's stronger than steel; and it conducts heat and electricity better than copper. These properties have gotten the materials science community very excited, and set off a race to produce it in bulk.

 



Geim's unusually honest reaction should surprise no one. With this new honor, he becomes the first person to have taken home both a Nobel and an Ig Nobel Prize; he received the latter in 2000 for a paper on levitating frogs. Geim has also listed a hamster as the senior author of a paper on a similar approach to levitate a gyroscope.

To get a complete sense of the progress that has been made since graphene was first isolated less than a decade ago, you only have to look at the extensive back catalog of stories we've published on it. The exceptional properties of the material arise from its remarkably simple structure, shown above, which consists of a series of interconnected carbon atoms occupying a single plane. Another way to think of it is as a carbon nanotube sliced open and rolled flat.

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