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Surprising Science

2010 Nobel Physics Prize

Graphene is the world’s thinnest and toughest material—a transparent form of carbon one atom thick. Two Russian scientists who isolated the material have won the Nobel Prize.

“It’s not often that materials as humble as Scotch tape and the stuff of pencil lead yield a Nobel Prize in physics, but they play a key role in a discovery honored in the 2010 award, announced Tuesday in Stockholm. Two Russian-born physicists at the University of Manchester in Britain have captured the 2010 Nobel Prize for physics for their isolation of graphene, a crystal-like form of carbon one atom thick. What’s the big deal? Some researchers are calling graphene a ‘wonder material’ capable of spawning a new generation of electronic displays and solar panels, as well as lighter, stronger composite materials used in everything from bullet-proof vests to airliners and spacecraft.”


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