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Thin is In: And We Aren't Talking Skinny Jeans

October 6, 2010
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Looking for a great conversation starter next time you’re face-to-face with a cute but painfully awkward science geek?

Bring up the super thin sheet-like form of carbon called graphene discovered by scientists Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov. While scientists have been working for years to try to break down graphite (stuff in pencils) by using hi tech laboratory methods, Geim and Novoselov used scotch tape to simply peel off a layer off a block of graphite.  Basically the team was “keeping it simple.”

According to Allen MacDonald, a professor of physics at the University of Texas this new material is “stronger than steel, it’s a superb electrical conductor and it’s transparent.” And he says, “Scientists speculate that it may eventually be useful in all kinds of electronic devices, from mobile phones to computer chips.”

It’s so impressive that the pair just won the Nobel Prize in Physics last Tuesday for their discovery. Here’s just a sample of the online comments from the Nobel website.

We love the bullet proof suit idea!

On a fun side note, Geim is also known for winning an Ig Nobel prize (devoted to silly science), for his work on frog levitation (yep, he levitated a frog) and during his acceptance speech told the audience about a preacher who after learning of his skills offered his team a million pounds if they could levitate him in front of his congregation. Who says religion and science can’t work together?

For the full story on the pair check out this article on NPR.

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