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Nobel Prize in Physics For Discovery of Graphene

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the all-sorts-of-grats dept.

Hardware Hacking 139

bugsbunnyak writes "The 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded for the discovery of graphene to Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov. Graphene is a novel one-atom-thick lattice state of carbon which has demonstrated unique quantum mechanical properties. These properties derive in part from the 2-dimensional nature of the material: quantum interactions are constrained to the effectively planar dimension of the lattice. Graphene holds promise for physical applications including touch screens, light cells, and potentially solar panels. Geim becomes the first scientist to achieve a Nobel prize despite earlier winning the highly-coveted Ig Nobel in 2000 for his studies of diamagnetic levitation — also known as The Flying Frog." Slashdot originally mentioned the frog almost exactly 10 years ago.

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139 comments

Heh (1)

koreaman (835838) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795408)

I actually remember the frog story... I wonder how many digits my UID would be had I registered back then.

Re:Heh (1, Offtopic)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795470)

I remember that story too. I remember feeling sorry for the frog. I imagine that it would feel like you were being electrocuted. That high of a magenetic field would likely induce funky currents in your nerves.

Re:Heh (4, Informative)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795640)

Currents are only induced by time-changing magnetic fields, not by a constant gradient. The field strength they used for the frog was 16 T, I think. That's on the order of field strength they use for MRI. When MRIs use rapidly-changing fields, there are noticeable, but not particularly painful, neural effects. I've personally been near 5+ T static fields, and it's entirely uninteresting.

Re:Heh (1)

david.given (6740) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796654)

Would the magnetic field affect the movement of charged particles through the body, such as the ions of dissolved salts in the bloodstream? Or does blood move sufficiently slowly that this isn't an issue? What about synapse junctions?

Re:Heh (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 3 years ago | (#33798064)

Well, the first question is easy: as far as I know, the magnetic field technically would affect the movement of charged particles (ions show up everywhere in cell biology and like to move from one place to another).

I don't know offhand how big the effect is. It'd scale linearly with magnetic field. There are no apparent ill effects from fields of a few Tesla, so a 16 T field would be no different.

Re:Heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33796768)

I have to correct you, random on the Internet. MRI magnet field strengths tend to be around 1.5 to 3 Teslas, depending on the intent of the machine. Research units are more powerful for better resolution, routine imaging units are less powerful because they are cheaper. There are "open concept" units as well for use with claustrophobes, but these are weaker because of the design trade-off.

IAARN.

Re:Heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33797180)

The field strength they used for the frog was 16 T, I think. That's on the order of field strength they use for MRI.

16T may be on the same "order" (in the same sense as being charged $16 for a Big Mac is on the same "order" as being charged $4) but I wouldn't volunteer to get in a field that strong. I'm pretty sure MRI is not allowed to go beyond 4T because of concerns about patient safety.

Re:Heh (2, Informative)

x2A (858210) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795722)

Magnetic fields don't induce a current, a changing field (or moving through a field) does... if the magnetic field is a fixed one (I assume so but could easily be wrong) the minor movements of it floating around I'd imagine is unlikely to do much in a way that would trigger currents through nerves. Electric currents tend not to discriminate much as far as nerve types go, so if it was doing something, it would be fairly visible as it would play havock with froggies muscles. For an example of what I mean, jump to 1:11 of this [youtube.com] hehe

Re:Heh (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796172)

Magnetic fields don't induce a current, a changing field (or moving through a field) does... if the magnetic field is a fixed one (I assume so but could easily be wrong) the minor movements of it floating around I'd imagine is unlikely to do much in a way that would trigger currents through nerves.

Frogger's center of gravity might/must remain motionless to float statically, but unless frogger is dead, its gonna wiggle in the field.

Sort of like when I swim, my center of gravity remains at a vaguely constant distance from the waters surface, but my extremities are a wrigglin. Same situation with laying on top of a waterbed, or so I'm told.

Re:Heh (1)

Fauxbo (1393095) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797036)

Apologies if this is a dumb question because I don't know anything about it.

Could this be done in reverse in a zero gravity environment to push someone/thing down to the floor?

The idea of course would be to create artificial 'gravity'.

Re:Heh (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795832)

I remember that story too. I remember feeling sorry for the frog. I imagine that it would feel like you were being electrocuted. That high of a magenetic field would likely induce funky currents in your nerves.

The magnetic fields weren't so high and, as the process lifted the frog by its water, the creature probably just felt weightless as if floating in dry water.

Re:Heh (0)

alexborges (313924) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795872)

AWWWW

Come on. Its certaintly better than the "frog that doesnt jump out of boiling water" high school experiment they used to make.

Re:Heh (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795540)

If memory serves (and the ten year old summary conveniently linked by CmdrTaco), your UID would still be six digits.

Re:Heh (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795884)

Yup. My present 6-digit ID (not my first, since I occasionally get bored with my nickname) is 10 years old. Actually, I'm bored with this nickname too, so I'll probably ditch it sometime when I get around to it. I couldn't give a damn about losing my karma.

Re:Heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33796628)

I couldn't give a damn about losing my karma.

Happy to oblige you; enjoy your downmod.

Re:Heh (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796450)

I wonder how many digits my UID would be had I registered back then.

Low six figures. Easy to double-check by looking at posts at the link [slashdot.org].

BTW, the froggy thing should have won a regular Nobel, IMO, and an IgNobel.

There's no reason good science can't also be wacky.

Re:Heh (1)

wurp (51446) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797720)

Given that the frist post on that story was by a user with a 6 digit UID, I'm guessing you would still have a 6 digit UID had you registered then.

The frog story is interesting (0, Offtopic)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795538)

Not to take anything away from the graphene story, but the floating frog story is really interesting.

It posits that there is a magnetic field surrounding all matter. The positive and negative particles produce a tiny force that can be measured with even crude instruments like a compass. Strangely, these fields become stronger and weaker depending on many variables, including emotional state, vitality, and stress levels.

I'm not saying this is what psychics "see" when they "read someone's aura", but there seems to be more to their woo-woo than many skeptics are willing to accept. If there is a measurable energy field around all things, then there might be something to things like Reiki and other eastern traditional medicines.

Re:The frog story is interesting (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33795612)

I'm not saying this is what psychics "see" when they "read someone's aura", but there seems to be more to their woo-woo than many skeptics are willing to accept. If there is a measurable energy field around all things, then there might be something to things like Reiki and other eastern traditional medicines.

Then perhaps you wouldn't mind linking to some peer reviewed research ... [citation needed]

Re:The frog story is interesting (2, Informative)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795630)

Here's a link that talks about the energy field surrounding matter.

http://www.ru.nl/hfml/research/levitation/diamagnetic/ [www.ru.nl]

Incidentally, it's the same URL as the one in the summary.

Re:The frog story is interesting (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795752)

I didn't understand anything about the story to be an energy field. I understood it that everything with a composition of protons and electrons will eventually force all the electrons to one side creating a magnetic like object so long as you introduce a strong enough magnetic force.

Re:The frog story is interesting (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795786)

all the atoms inside the frog act as very small magnets creating a field of about 2 Gauss

Re:The frog story is interesting (4, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795918)

Yes. When aligned by the other magnetic field. I cannot simply take a compass and hold it next to a frog for results.

And none of that seems to point towards emotional state affecting any of it, which is the part specifically that the AC quoted.

Re:The frog story is interesting (2, Insightful)

Krahar (1655029) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795792)

I'm not saying this is what psychics "see" when they "read someone's aura"

Yes you are - that is exactly what you are saying. It is just that you don't want to stand by what you are saying; not that I blame you for that.

Re:The frog story is interesting (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795890)

I'm just saying that there may be a connection here that skeptics are dismissing out of hand.

Whether it is the magnetic field described in the article or something else (maybe radiation as detected by the microwave scanners at airports), there does seem to be a field or "aura" produced by living things that may be related to so-called supernatural or life-energy beliefs and practices of many cultures.

Re:The frog story is interesting (1, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796276)

It's not being dismissed out of hand. It's being dismissed because it has been shown to not work.

Any blinded experiment shows that.

The fact the many cultures have woo in no way gives in validity.

No one can see someone aura. If someone claims to they are either deluded, lying, or have low blood sugar and there eyes aren't focusing correctly; which leads them to a deluded belief.

Tooth fairy science (4, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796322)

Except, again, for the fact that none of them seem able to actually do what they claim to do.

Finding (pseudo) sciencey-sounding explanation before even knowing if there's a phenomenon to explain in the first place, has a name. It's called Tooth Fairy Science [skepdic.com].

Sure, one can handwave a whole theory about what might be the physics behind the tooth fairy, and the market value of different kinds of teeth, and whatever. But if you don't actually have a phenomenon to explain there, it's just a pointless waste of time.

Ditto here. Trying to explain how aura reading might work before anyone proved they can actually read an aura (again: anyone can win a million dollars if they just prove they can) is exactly tooth fairy science.

Re:Tooth fairy science (0, Flamebait)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796354)

http://churmura.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/scanner2-300x248.jpg [churmura.com]

The body produces an energy field that can be easily measured.

But I suppose you'd deny that.

ROFLMAO (5, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796472)

ROFLMAO. That's a backscatter X-Ray photo from an airport scanner, lemming. It has nothing to do with body energy fields or anything.

Jesus Haploid Christ, I've seen hoaxes and mis-interpretations in support of woowoo, but this is one of the few things that truly take the cake. There is nothing mysterious or magnetic or aura about it. There is no aura there. It's some photons bouncing off matter. You know, elementary physics stuff. There is _no_ aura emitted there at all. It's only the bouncing photons. You turn those off, it ceases.

And the only way a psychic could see _that_ kind of "aura" is if their eyes could produce such radiation. Which is trivial to measure with a geiger counter, if they want to make such a claim.

Re:ROFLMAO (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796562)

Why is it not "mysterious" anymore? Because science has shown it to work.

Two hundred years ago, you'd be burned at the stake for such a thing.

Broken logic (4, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796808)

In the words of Carl Sagan: "They laughed at Galileo. They laughed at Newton. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown."

To put it simply "but they once laughed at X too" or "but they once believed Z to be false too" doesn't really prove anything and is not logical evidence. It's simply a piece of bogus sophistry that proves nothing.

You know what made us accept the physics behind that scanner photo? Actual evidence. You know what psychic woowoo _doesn't_ have? Actual evidence.

That's all it really needs. Wake me up when it has any. It's that simple.

Re:Broken logic (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796926)

So anything that is supported by evidence is science and anything that is not supported by evidence is woo-woo.

Any evidence that proves the "mysterious" thing moves into the science category.

And thus Randi's challenge money disappears in a puff of logic.

Re:Broken logic (1)

radtea (464814) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797936)

And thus Randi's challenge money disappears in a puff of logic.

Nope: Randi is paying out for phenomenology. A demonstrated capacity to DO any of the wide range of things that many, many people claim to be able to do. They just have to do it under circumstances that radically reduce the risk of fraud or self-delusion.

Science is primarily about evidence. If you claim, as you do above, that human beings have "auras" that some people can see, you need to adduce evidence of THAT CLAIM before introducing speculative claims regarding what might cause such "auras".

You cannot increase the plausibility of a claim that has failed every systematic observation and controlled experiment that has investigated it by speculating on what might cause a phenomenon that has not been demonstrated to exist.

And if you didn't claim that people have "auras" that some people can see, why are you introducing the speculation as to the cause of a phenomenon you do not believe exists? Introducing the claim that X might cause Y is de facto evidence that you believe Y, regardless of any counter-claims you might make. If you do not believe "auras" exist it is completely incomprehensible, at least to my limited mind, why you would speculate on their causes.

It would be like speculating on what causes fine English cusine or nuanced American politics.

Re:Broken logic (1)

Gunnut1124 (961311) | more than 3 years ago | (#33798024)

I like how you didn't address the need for evidence, just changed the topic to the Randi Challenge. Moraelin has you on this one BAG, the concept you are trying to describe requires a verified EFFECT to be measured before any speculation can be made as to CAUSE.

We need to see the psychic that can read a mood through wall or read the mood of trained actors who can manage their subtle body language to remove the know effect of "reading" things like posture and eye movement. Once know causes have been removed, and effects can be demonstrated, then you can posit this "aura" or whatever...

Re:Tooth fairy science (2, Interesting)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796568)

Easily measured by sensitive devices designed to measure it. Like voltmeters. And the sensitivity has to rise parabolically as the measuring device retreats from the test sample, but nearly infinitely at the boundary of the sample, so the parabola starts out pretty stuck when it becomes the shape of the curve.

Frizzy-haired bints saying they "see" the aura around someone on a TV or movie screen are not gifted, they are nuts.

BTW, your linked picture is not an "energy field" produced by a human body. It is a computer-drawn representation of millimeter-wave RF emitted by electronic devices and reflected from a human body. And a gun.

So I'm using my psychic powers to say you're trolling.

Re:Tooth fairy science (2, Interesting)

bcmm (768152) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796684)

http://churmura.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/scanner2-300x248.jpg

Wow, that picture looks spooky. It also looks a lot like a backscatter X-ray [wikipedia.org]. In fact, the Wikipedia article features the same image.

The body produces an energy field that can be easily measured.

Citation needed, but anyway: what's an energy field? If you just mean a regular physical field, then well done! you've discovered that humans have mass. If you don't, then please clarify what you are actually talking about, and how you can measure it.

Re:Tooth fairy science (1)

Tarsir (1175373) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796912)

You cleverly failed to mention how that image was generated, but I'm going to guess it comes from a millimeter wave scanner. Those do not detect energy fields being generate by the body, but rather emit energy, and measure how the energy interacts with, in this case, a human body and objects near it.

Going back to the origins of this discussion, you have indeed demonstrated the possibility that there might be something to eastern traditional medicines; however, the set of propositions which are possible is very large and often contradictory, so you can't believe all of them. In theory, people should believe the minimal set of proposition which explain the evidence (Occam's Razor), but in practice people use prejudice and bias as a good approximation.

Re:Tooth fairy science (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797270)

What makes you think that nobody can do it? Just because people that can do it don't want to be studied, doesn't mean that it isn't real. People emit radiation, both in terms of IR as well as other forms of EMR, it wouldn't be shocking if people could see one or both given that photons are just a specific type of EMR.

Additionally, it is the domain the science to come up with an explanation or disprove it. Shockingly enough with little if any research being done, scientists are failing to disprove it or come up with a credible answer.

Beyond that those that do claim to be able to do it tend to be written off as lunatics, resulting in a self fulfilling prophecy as those of us that can do it but don't want the attention don't look for it.

But, I'm sure you'll write this off as delusional, but it is ultimately a stronger position than yours is. But, it's not really confirmation bias when it suggests what you want it to, is it?

Re:The frog story is interesting (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33796742)

They say it is the mark of an intelligent man to be able to entertain an idea without committing to believing it.

He is merely saying that the possibility exists, not that this is how he thinks things are. There is a large difference in the two statements.

Or it might just be BS (5, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795922)

Not to take anything away from the graphene story, but the floating frog story is really interesting.

It posits that there is a magnetic field surrounding all matter. The positive and negative particles produce a tiny force that can be measured with even crude instruments like a compass. Strangely, these fields become stronger and weaker depending on many variables, including emotional state, vitality, and stress levels.

I'm not saying this is what psychics "see" when they "read someone's aura", but there seems to be more to their woo-woo than many skeptics are willing to accept. If there is a measurable energy field around all things, then there might be something to things like Reiki and other eastern traditional medicines.

Actually, sorry, the ultimate test for that is that Randi still has a 1 million dollars prize for whoever can demonstrate any paranormal abilities in a controlled setting. Aura reading does explicitly qualify, and has been tested ad nauseam before, only to turn out bunk every time.

So if you think a psychic can read such things at all, just send them here: Challenge Application [randi.org]

Hey, you could be doing them a favour. Humanity too. Think of how many people they could treat or how many other psychics they could train with that money.

But until one actually does win the prize, I hope you'll understand why I'm less than impressed if yet another gullible mark handwaves some vague "we don't know" as a reason to believe in bullshit woowoo. Not knowing something is false is not a reason to believe there's something to it. What you illustrate there is just the mainstream form of the [wikipedia.org]. The question isn't what skeptics are willing to accept, but what can be supported by evidence. That's all.

Re:Or it might just be BS (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795964)

Randi is not a scientist. He is a magician.

Re:Or it might just be BS (4, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796056)

Yes. It turns out it's actually an advantage to be able to recognize the cheap magician tricks that half of these frauds use. (The other half being just poor deluded idiots.)

But nevertheless, the methodology is pretty public and straightforward. Very much in line with the scientific method too.

But ultimately that's just irrelevant anyway. He's not offering his million for showing the quantum reasons for that aura reading or anything. He just asks someone to prove they can do whatever they claim to do. If they claim to be able to read an aura, they can get a million dollars for doing just that. Should be easy money if they actually can, right?

Re:Or it might just be BS (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796278)

Science progresses.

A hundred odd years ago, I could say "I can detect people hidden behind walls with this special device I have developed. It senses an energy field given off by the person." And upon proving it and explaining that the device detects invisible infrared radiation, a skeptic like Randi would then say "that's using science, not psychic ability".

But then what is the difference between science and psychic ability except the moving of unknown things into the realm of the understood things?

No one can ever win Randi's challenge because upon proving the ability, it would cease to be "psychic" and would be science and thus unqualified for the award. The Randi Challenge is a clever scam to prove to his true believers how smart he is, though.

Bullshit (2, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796390)

Bullshit. If you bothered reading the rules, it just needs to be unexplained at the time you enter the contest. It's one of the things he explicitly addresses.

But, yes, that one has to be the #1 excuse of gullible marks who still want to believe in fairy tales. It's bullshit, but, hey, I guess when one wants to believe in fairy tales against all evidence, the choices for good rationalizations must be fairly limited.

Re:Bullshit (0, Flamebait)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796426)

So anything that is shown to work automatically disqualifies itself.

As I said, that's a scam, not a contest.

Heh (2, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796574)

So anything that is shown to work automatically disqualifies itself.

As I said, that's a scam, not a contest.

The rules clarify exactly the opposite of your claim. And since testing is pretty public it's also verifiable that nobody failed in the way you claim.

Repeating the same lie one more time won't make it true, you know. We're not in The Hunting Of The Snark.

So are you a liar or just have genuine comprehension problems?

Re:Or it might just be BS (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796328)

But he applies the scientific method. Being a magician aids him in spotting misdirection.

I don't even like they guy, but his methods are sound.

Re:Or it might just be BS (2, Funny)

Joe Snipe (224958) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796334)

Actually, sorry, the ultimate test for that is that Randi still has a 1 million dollars prize for whoever can demonstrate any paranormal abilities in a controlled setting. Aura reading does explicitly qualify, and has been tested ad nauseam before, only to turn out bunk every time.

Maybe the act of observing it destroys it's waveform

Re:Or it might just be BS (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796412)

But until one actually does win the prize, I hope you'll understand why I'm less than impressed if yet another gullible mark handwaves some vague "we don't know" as a reason to believe in bullshit woowoo.

Something you both may be missing, is that being a sweaty bag of water, your skin conductivity etc does in fact vary with emotional condition. Or at least it certainly directly varies with sweatyness. Which seems to be the whole basis of a lot of lie detector technology.

Oddly enough, both wooowoo aura reading and lie detection machinery require gullible people to believe in them for there to be any effect. Both are just as unscientific and mostly depend on acting/marketing techniques.

Re:Or it might just be BS (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797358)

Randi is an asshole. He's at least as obnoxious as the most obnoxious people on the other side.

Trust me, you put up with him and possibly win the prize. And congratulations if you do manage to win the prize, because then you have to put up with all sorts of other assholes.

Just because those of us who do have various talents, ones that can be observed by impartial observers, doesn't mean that we want to put up with that crap. It's only a million dollars, hardly worth ruining ones life over.

As an aside, as somebody who can genuinely see Auras and can see colors, I've no clue as to what meaning if any the colors have. But it's hardly unreasonable that with all the radiation that humans emit that some of it would be in terms of IR close enough to the visible spectrum that some people would be able to see it.

And no, just because people with capabilities choose not to prove it, does not mean that there are no people with capabilities. It just means that it hasn't been scientifically demonstrated. That makes it neither true nor false.

As a side note Randi is an asshole, and he doesn't require that they live up to the scientific standards that are normally necessary. He's just a bully that has a large mouth.

i'm curious (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795926)

I was talking with an individual who talked about this when talking about some type of "energy measurement device" that was used on him once during some type of therapy. He ended up identifying himself as a Scientologist. Now beyond knowing about Tom Cruise being a member, and about the science fiction writer who started the "religion", I know very little about Scientology.

By chance are you a Scientologist?

Re:i'm curious (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796312)

By chance are you a Scientologist?

Excuse me but that's an extremely rude question.

Some people have enough problems already, having to go through life with such limitations. You should treat them with as much respect as you offer to the normal people.

Don't claim more than you have observed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33796116)

The human nervous system is electrochemical. All of its activities include the movement of charged particles, and hence detectable changes in the magnetic field such particles produce.

"Changes in emotional state" are activities of the nervous system. Hence, we would expect that they would impact the field generated by that nervous system. It's that simple.

Humans aren't equipped with a means to directly sense these electromagnetic changes. Psychics are not seeing them. Psychics just read body language, tone of voice, and use simple linguistic techniques to feed that information back to you and make you feel like they know something you don't. Any skilled psychologist can perform just as well as a psychic.

Re:The frog story is interesting (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796216)

If there is a measurable energy field around all things, then there might be something to things like Reiki and other eastern traditional medicines.

Congratulations for being able to follow such line of reasoning. Personally, I can't even fathom the degree of idiocy one must bear to accept such an argument as valid.

Fun facts (4, Informative)

zrbyte (1666979) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795560)

At the University of Maryland they have levitated [newscientist.com] graphene flakes. Although this was not diamagnetic levitation. The story was discussed in an earlier /. post. [slashdot.org] HOPG [wikipedia.org] (Highly Ordered Pyrolytic Graphite), a form of highly crystalline graphite, from which graphene is obtained in the lab, can also be diamagnetically levitated [wikipedia.org] :)

Re:Fun facts (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796636)

Many materials have varying degrees of para- or diamagnetism and can be levitated.

Almost all materials have clouds of electrons creating electrostatic shielding by which they may be levitated.

For instance, this bottle is being levitated by the apparatus designed to create an electric field around its neck. [kaccents.com] The electric field is held in place by quantum forces mediated by virtual photons that keep the electrons in orbit about their atomic nuclei.

Interesting (1)

l2718 (514756) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795590)

As far as Nobel prizes in Physics go, this one is for a very recent result. The experimental apparatus itself was very simple (some graphite and scotch tape!), but the result is very interesting.

Re:Interesting (5, Insightful)

zrbyte (1666979) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795812)

I happen to work in this field and I think the prize is well deserved. Ever since the 2004 - 2005 papers [doi.org] of these guys the number of peer reviewed, graphene related publications has grown exponentially every year. So they have had (and still have) a major impact on physics, not counting all the possible applications of this material.

Although graphene was observed in various experiments in the 70s [wikipedia.org], these guys have realized its true potential. Furthermore, the discovery came in just the right moment in (scientific) history, where we have the sophisticated tools to study this material. No use inventing the spaceship in the middle ages (if you pardon the crude analogy).

Re:Interesting (2, Insightful)

l2718 (514756) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795986)

Oh -- I definitely agree that the prise is well deserved. It's just notable that a well-deserved prize is given 6 years after publication and not 36 years after publication. It's also notable that you don't always need very expensive equipment to do ground-breaking work in condensed matter physics -- it's still possible to do top-notch research with everyday tools.

Re:Interesting (1)

zrbyte (1666979) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796102)

You're absolutely right. People probably create some trace amounts of graphene every time they draw with a pencil :)

It doesn't make sense (5, Funny)

MarkRose (820682) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795628)

I don't get it. How could they get the Nobel prize for this? Graphene is made out of carbon, and last I checked, carbon isn't one of the Nobel elements.

I have mod points, but.... (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795730)

I have mod points but don't know whether to mod you insightful, funny or troll for making me groan out loud and make my coworkers check on me.

Re:It doesn't make sense (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795762)

True, but the prize itself is made from one of the Nobel elements (hence it's name). The original design was made using a pencil (#2, I think [citation needed]), so it all works out.

Re:It doesn't make sense (5, Funny)

Enderwiggin13 (734997) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795784)

Wish I could mod this funny...too bad all my mod points argon.

Re:It doesn't make sense (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795858)

Apparently the Nobel committee isn't what it used to be; their previously high standards argon.

Re:It doesn't make sense (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796240)

Graphene is made out of carbon, and last I checked, carbon isn't one of the Nobel elements.

Neither is dynamite (groan).

Think of the good P.R. ole Alfred Nobel has gotten for decades now out of his little donation. You'd think some rich computer industry MBA would get with the program, and set up an annual award for the wittiest and most intelligent slashdot poster with a nickname beginning in V and ending in M...

BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33795892)

Ah, another Nobel season come and gone, and once again Sau Lan Wu will hang Her head in defeat, then go kick a couple grad students to make Herself feel better. /Former Wu-on //If you're in HEP, you know what I'm talking about.

Hmmm. (3, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796212)

If those awarding the Ig Nobels are themselves Nobel Prize Winners, if he wins another can he present the prize to himself? (Answers c/o Schrodinger's cat, P.O. Box 666.)

Seriously, graphene was a fascinating discovery - doubly so given the simplicity of its discovery. Anyone could have used pencil lead and sellotape, the way these guys did, to create graphene - and may well have done. The only real difference is these guys wondered what they had and took a look. (There have been many discoveries over time like that. I'm beginning to realize just how much genius depends on asking questions others could have - perhaps should have - asked but didn't.)

Problems with the best-known alternative to silicon (gallium arsenide) include that it's expensive, extremely toxic to make, result in much smaller wafers and have a much lower yield if you even get that far. It's also not very good at CMOS-style logic. However, silicon is already pushing the limits of what it can do so if you want faster computers, you have to have a good alternative lined up. Graphene may be a good option here, once it matures. Carbon is plentiful, there's no reason to believe the production of graphene will turn out to be hazardous, graphene transistors can be made to be faster than silicon ones and the IBM successfully used silicon fab tech to made it. What is not known is how to make anything complex or how it'll perform under such conditions.

One area that GaAs is major is the aerospace industry. GaAs is much more radiation-resistant than silicon, which means you don't have to do mind-boggling contortions in the circuitry or add in lead shielding (both techniques are used, although the shielding seems to only be used by a handful of companies, the rest opt for circuits from hell). I can find no information on how radiation-resistant graphene would be, but at a glance I would imagine it to be at least as good as silicon, maybe slightly better. It may displace silicon in the aerospace markets, then, but probably not GaAs unless it's a lot better than I'm thinking.

Since graphene has other properties that may be valuable (unusual strength for something one atom thick, interesting optical properties, weird magnetic properties, etc), it would not surprise me if it ends up being used in other industries for things that have no bearing on its semiconductor nature. It might be fun to speculate who can really exploit graphene in any practical way first.

Re:Hmmm. (1)

sgtrock (191182) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796862)

Seriously, graphene was a fascinating discovery - doubly so given the simplicity of its discovery. Anyone could have used pencil lead and sellotape, the way these guys did, to create graphene - and may well have done. The only real difference is these guys wondered what they had and took a look. (There have been many discoveries over time like that. I'm beginning to realize just how much genius depends on asking questions others could have - perhaps should have - asked but didn't.)

'The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" ("I found it!") but rather "hmm....that's funny..."' -- generally attributed to Isaac Asimov

Re:Hmmm. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797930)

The only real difference is these guys wondered what they had and took a look. (There have been many discoveries over time like that. I'm beginning to realize just how much genius depends on asking questions others could have - perhaps should have - asked but didn't.)

I think it was Asimov (correct me if I'm wrong) who said "Scientific discoveries are rarely born with a 'Eureka', but instead usually with a 'that's funny'..."

break from tradition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33796284)

What happened to the good old days when the Nobel prize were awarded to geriatric fogies who did their work half a century ago?

Re:break from tradition (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796770)

You're older, they're still fogies and these days 5 years is half a century, scientifically.

Almost.. (1)

pahles (701275) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796436)

or exactly?

Slashdot originally mentioned the frog almost exactly 10 years ago.

What's it gonna be?

Re:Almost.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33796598)

Well, it been almost for a while, tomorrow it will be exactly, and after that, almost again, at least until it's a while ago.

Second author (2, Informative)

Bazman (4849) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796572)

Geim is now probably the only Nobel prize winner to have co-authored a paper with a hamster.

   

Two-dimentional material?? (1)

bhartman34 (886109) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796578)

These properties derive in part from the 2-dimensional nature of the material

Now, granted, I'm not a physicist, but since when have real-world objects been able to be two-dimensional? Even if you draw a line on a piece of paper, the graphite or ink that compose the line will have three dimensions. Is there any such thing in the physical universe as a two-dimensional object?

Re:Two-dimentional material?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33797154)

The world looks 2-dimensional to an ant. Graphene looks 2-dimensional to an electron. It's not a 2-d object, but it does act like a 2-d object.

Re:Two-dimentional material?? (5, Informative)

slew (2918) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797272)

Now, granted, I'm not a physicist, but since when have real-world objects been able to be two-dimensional?

Although real-world objects cannot actually span only two dimensions (if you ignore possible theories about strings), the interaction of certain particles can be constrained to 2 spatial degrees of freedom (well plus the time dimension, but ignoring that for now). Two degrees of freedom can be basically lay-man-transliterated as 2-dimensional nature since many people don't really understand 2 degrees of freedom, but they can relate to 2 dimensions (like a sheet of paper to use your analogy).

In this case, the electrons that "move" in the (2d grid-like) lattice of carbon atoms are effectively constrained to 2 spatial degrees of freedom (can represent the position as x & y of the 2d grid of atoms) and will exhibit similar properties as being constrain to a 2 dimensional object even though the lattice of carbon atoms occupies 3 spatial dimensions since the electrons (of a certain energy) only have 2 actual degrees of freedom.

FWIW Quantum physics is usually weird and non-intuitive when you chop down the number of degrees of freedom of an object, although it can be sometimes be understood by using an analogy about reducing the number of dimensions.

Re:Two-dimentional material?? (3, Informative)

wurp (51446) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797622)

It is a macro-scale (more or less) object that exhibits quantum properties in two dimensions, because the atoms are bound to their neighbors in a flat sheet. When the distances are less than the wavelength of the particles you're studying, they act in some ways as if that direction doesn't exist - i.e. it is not a "degree of freedom" in the system, a typical physics definition of a dimension.

My view as someone in the field of graphene (5, Interesting)

vsage3 (718267) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796792)

Geim's original paper on the subject ( http://arxiv.org/ftp/cond-mat/papers/0410/0410550.pdf [arxiv.org] ) was a real fascination because it was so simple and yet enabled many people to do real research. The original paper uses scotch tape to peel off monolayers of different bulk materials, but only graphene showed anything interesting (in particular, the so-called "field-effect" which is the principle behind CMOS transistors. To be sure, the quality of graphene produced from this method is complete crap compared to more advanced methods used by groups today (chemical vapor deposition of various organic molecules, carbon gettering from metals, epitaxial growth by silicon sublimation from SiC), but an impressive amount of exotic physical phenomena (e.g., quantum hall effect) was seen in what was essentially crap.

No doubt, Geim has probably indirectly gotten thousands of researchers perhaps a billion dollars in funding in less than a decade, but I don't think Geim's contribution was as much physics as it was successfully marketing his research (outsiders like to think of science as being purely meritocratic, but it scientists are still people, and people are susceptible to hype). In my opinion, there are many better physics researchers in the field than Geim himself, but none of them are nearly as good at communication and generating buzz.

In any case, congratulations to him for winning it so soon.
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