5/10/10 – Nobel Prize for Physics Awarded to Two scientists who discovered graphene
5 October 2010
It was a red letter day for Professor Andre Geim and Professor Konstantin Novoselov, the two UK-based scientists, who have been awarded the highest accolade in the scientific world for their pioneering work with the world’s thinnest material.
The scientists first announced the discovery of Graphene at Manchester University in 2004. Since then, grapheme has attracted world-wide interest and is one of the hottest topics in materials science and solid-state physics.
Professor Novoselov, 36, known as Kostya, first worked with Professor 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.
Professor Geim said: “This is a fantastic honour. People have been talking about graphene as a possible prize winner for a number of years so for the community in graphene research it hardly comes as a surprise.However I personally did not expect to get this prize. I slept soundly last night because I never expected to win it.”
Professor Konstantin Novoselov said: “I was really shocked when I heard the news and my first thought was to go to the lab and tell the team.I didn’t know until this morning when I had a call from Stockholm.We have had a fantastic seven years working together on this new material graphene.”
Graphene was discovered in 2004 and is a two-dimensional layer of carbon atoms that resembles chicken wire. Since then it has rapidly become one of the hottest topics in materials science and solid-state physics. Since its discovery, Professor Geim and Dr Novoselov have published numerous research papers in prestigious journals such as Science and Nature, which have demonstrated the exquisite new physics for the material and its potential in novel applications such as ultrafast transistors just one atom thick – making it a potential successor to silicon – and sensors that can detect just a single molecule of a toxic gas.
A team of materials scientists and physicists from Manchester recently reported that graphene has the potential to replace carbon fibres in high performance materials that are used to build aircraft.