NPR logo Geim And Novoselov Win Nobel Physics Prize

International

Geim And Novoselov Win Nobel Physics Prize

Graphene: the almost perfect web is only one atom thick. It consists of carbon atoms joined together in a hexagonal pattern similar to chicken wire. Illustration: Jannik Meyer/Science, Vol. 324, 15 May 2009 hide caption

toggle caption
Illustration: Jannik Meyer/Science, Vol. 324, 15 May 2009

Researchers Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov won the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics for working on a very flat form of carbon: graphene. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences considers this a 'brand-new material' that's so flat, it's two-dimensional.

(Graphene is) also the strongest. As a conductor of electricity it performs as well as copper. As a conductor of heat it outperforms all other known materials. It is almost completely transparent, yet so dense that not even helium, the smallest gas atom, can pass through it. Carbon, the basis of all known life on earth, has surprised us once again.

They're also very funny fellows - the pair first successfully grabbed a piece of graphene using a strip of adhesive tape. The Committee writes:

Playfulness is one of their hallmarks, one always learns something in the process and, who knows, you may even hit the jackpot. Like now when they, with graphene, write themselves into the annals of science.

The Nobel Committee says the Physics Prize was the first mentioned in founder Alfred Nobel's will.  Perhaps the most notable laureate is Albert Einstein, cited in 1921 for work in theoretical physics. He won for his theory on the photoelectric effect, not his landmark theory of general relativity, published 17 years earlier.  The photoelectic theory explains that light behaves as both a particle and a wave.

Article continues after sponsorship

FRENCH TRADER 'DISGUSTED' WITH FRAUD CONVICTION

Convicted trader, Jerome Kerviel and his lawyer. Laurent Cipriani/Associated Press hide caption

toggle caption
Laurent Cipriani/Associated Press

Jerome Kerviel is appealing his conviction on forgery, breach of trust and unauthorized computer use for making bad bets at Societe Generale Bank and covering up his losses. The bank lost billions of dollars when the schemes came to light. Kerviel is to repay $6.7 billion dollars and spend three years in prison, judgments his lawyer calls senseless and extraordinary. Kerviel says his Societe Generale superiors knew what he was doing and approved, as long as he earned profits. Bank officials admit to mistakes but insist no one approved of Kerviel's actions.

TOXIC SLUDGE FLOODS HUNGARIAN TOWNS

A Hungarian soldier wears protective gear in the town of Devecser. Bela Szandelszky/Associated Press hide caption

toggle caption
Bela Szandelszky/Associated Press

Hungarian authorities declared states of emergency in three counties after a reservoir broke at a aluminum plant, sending a torrent of poisonous sludge into nearby towns. At least three people are dead, seven are missing and authorities say they've treated more than 100 people for chemical burns on their skin. It's fatal if swallowed. The red sludge is nearly seven feet deep in the closest town.

FLORIDA SHOOTER KILLS ONE, THEN SELF

Sheriff's deputies and police in Gainesville say Clifford Miller, Jr. drove his truck around his neighborhood, shooting at people and then killed himself. He shot another person to death and wounded five more before it ended. His motive isn't known. The Gainesville Sun reports Miller's victim was his father and that he'd had problems with mental illness.

AT LEAST IT'S NOT JIMI HENDRIX

It'll be against the law to badly sing the national anthem of the Philippines, if lawmakers in the country's lower house of parliament get their way. They've approved a bill punishing disrespect to national symbols such as the Filipino flag and setting specific rules on anthem singing. Performers who sing 'Lupang Hinirang' inappropriately face a fine and two years in jail, according to GMA news:

'Lupang Hinirang' should be sung in a marching-type tempo, within the range of 100 to 120 metronome, in 4/4 beat and 2/4 beat when played.

So here's how you're supposed to do it.

YouTube

The female pop trio, La Diva, was criticized for offering their personal interpretation of the anthem at the boxing match between Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto last year.

YouTube