Giants of science

Co-discovered super material

Sir Andre Geim Nobel Prize in physics (2010)
Sir Andre Geim Nobel Prize in physics (2010)

Made up of a single layer of carbon atoms, graphene is the thinnest material discovered to date, yet hundreds of times stronger than steel.

The man who discovered this important substance, Sir Andre Geim, who won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2010 for his discovery, will be at the summit.

Sir Andre and Sir Konstantin Novoselov discovered graphene when they were trying to investigate the electrical properties of graphite, another form of carbon. While attempting to make thin films of graphite necessary for their research, they discovered that they could simply use adhesive tape to peel off flakes from a graphite crystal.

Graphene is one million times thinner than paper. Flexible and a great conductor of heat and electricity, its properties have led scientists to experiment with using it in different products.

These include more efficient water filters and solar panels, superfast computer chips and quantum dots to deliver medical drugs more effectively.

Sir Andre, 58, who is studying other two-dimensional materials, has won other awards for his work, including the British Royal Society's Copley Medal. He was born in Russia in 1958 and now holds dual British and Dutch citizenship.

  • Source: National Research Foundation, University of Manchester
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2017, with the headline 'Co-discovered super material Giants of science'. Subscribe