Although Nobel Prize awarding generally tend to stir up controversy, giving the 2010 prize in physics to Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov of the University of Manchester was without a shadow of a doubt a good decision.
Stating that the two researchers invented graphene is not exactly correct. Truth is, this allotropic form of carbon has been intriguing numerous scientists since the early 70’s of the last century. The name itself was invented in 1987. Interestingly, over the past 30 years no-one managed to isolate graphene. Only in 2004, this task was accomplished by two Russians, who moved to Britain still in the USSR era. Their names were Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov.
Geim has his own laboratory which makes the perfect space for him and Novoselov to carry out various brilliant and definitely unorthodox experiments. These crazy sessions, proudly named "Friday evenings" by the authors, hosted such great and - well - bizarre events as making a frog levitate with the use of magnets. Officially the experiment was designed to prove that "a state of weightlessness can be achieved not only in space", which may sound serious, but does not change the fact that it was precisely these findings that “won” the scientists the 2001 Anti-Nobel prize.
Graphene, a carbon layer of a honeycomb structure, and a thickness of just one atom hailed as the material of the future, may leave the labs and hit the shops relatively soon. In what form? The Americans have found graphene applicable in energy storage; apparently, graphene-enriched batteries store three times more energy than the regular ones.