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7 October 2010
Nobel Prize winners praised by former Nottingham colleagues

Staff in the School of Physics and Astronomy at The University of Nottingham have welcomed news that a former colleague has won the Nobel Prize for Physics 2010.

Two physicists, Professors Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, were awarded the prize following their work in creating graphene, a one-atom thick, super strong, carbon-based electrical conductor that was hailed a “wonder material” when the discovery was made in 2004.

Graphene, which consists of carbon atoms arranged in a lattice effect, has a bountiful list of potential applications, from use in touch screen technology to solar cells, light panels, gas sensors, and flexible electronics, and is ideal, because of its light weight and strength, for use in satellite and aircraft technology.

Andre was a postdoc working at The University of Nottingham in the early 1990s.

Nobel Prize winners praised by former Nottingham colleagues

Professor Laurence Eaves of the School of Physics and Astronomy said he was delighted that their work had been recognised.

“I was very happy when I heard the news.  I know them both, they work in Britain so it’s great for Britain and wonderful for them too and I shall raise a glass to them today.

“What Andre and Kostya had at the University of Manchester, was the crazy idea of making a transistor structure out of a single atomic sheet. What they did was to look at the electronic properties of grapheme and they learned a whole lot of new physics which was really quite unexpected.

“To succeed in that project is just remarkable. I remember when they made the first transistor – the patience and education to see this idea through to a working device is just incredible.”

Former Head of Physics and Astronomy at The University of Nottingham and now Director of Education and Science at the Institute of Physics, Professor Peter Main, said, “We’re delighted to see two UK-based physicists take the prize. Following yesterday’s win for Professor Edwards, there could be no clearer sign of just how much the UK punches above its international weight in a very competitive scientific world.

“I knew Andre Geim as a young researcher from Russia when he joined our research team at the University of Nottingham. Since then the UK has become a magnet for the best young researchers from around the world. These timely awards should give pause for thought as worrying signals emanate from the Government’s funding decisions. We hope to see many more successes like Geim’s and Novosela’s on UK shores.”

You can see an interview with Professor Eaves and see an explanation of the science behind the Nobel Prize-winning work on the Sixty Symbols website at

The videos on Sixty Symbols are created by filmmaker and former BBC videojournalist Brady Haran. From physics at the scale of the tiniest nano-particle to the structure of entire galaxies, they look at every aspect of a fascinating subject in ways that most viewers will not have seen before. The Sixty Symbols Project was supported by a grant from the Annual Fund made up of donations by alumni and close supporters of the University.

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© The University of Nottingham 2009