University of Manchester scientists win the Nobel Prize for Physics
Coup for UK Physics, as two University of Manchester scientists are awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for their discovery of graphene.
Professor Andre Geim and Professor Konstantin Novoselov have been awarded the highest accolade in the scientific world for their pioneering work with the world’s thinnest material, graphene.
This represents a landmark achievement for Physics in the UK, as it is the first time an academic or academics have received the Nobel Prize for Physics while on the staff of a UK university since 1979.
Graphene, with the potential to revolutionize the electronics industry, was discovered by Professors Geim and Novoselov at the University in 2004. It has rapidly become one of the hottest topics in materials science and solid-state physics.
Professor Novoselov, 36, known as Kostya, first worked with Professor Geim, 51, as a PhD-student in the Netherlands. Andre Geim joined the University of Manchester in 2001, Kostya Novoselov followed Geim to Manchester in 2004. Both of them originally studied and began their careers as physicists in Russia.
The award of the Nobel Prize means there are currently four Nobel Laureates at The University of Manchester.
Professor Geim said: “This is a fantastic honour. People have been talking about graphene as a possible prize winner for a number of years so for the community in graphene research it hardly comes as a surprise.
“However I personally did not expect to get this prize. I slept soundly last night because I never expected to win it.
“Having won the Nobel Prize, some people sit back and stop doing anything, whereas others work so hard that they go mad in a few years. But I will be going into the office as usual and continuing to work hard and paddle through life as usual.“I have lots of research papers to work on at the moment which all need writing up so I will be carrying on as normal.
“I have a fantastic working relationship with Kostya. We worked together in Holland and then I managed to bring him to England with me.“Very often I fall out with people who don’t work hard but I have never fallen out with those who work as hard as Kostya.”
Professor Konstantin Novoselov said: “I was really shocked when I heard the news and my first thought was to go to the lab and tell the team.“I didn’t know until this morning when I had a call from Stockholm.
“We have had a fantastic seven years working together on this new material graphene.
“The University is well suited to this style of research- we have excellent facilities.
“It’s great to be a young academic at The University of Manchester and I’m grateful to everyone who has collaborated with us.”
Since the material’s discovery, Professor Geim and Dr Novoselov have published numerous research papers in prestigious journals such as Science and Nature, which have demonstrated the exquisite new physics for the material and its potential in novel applications such as ultrafast transistors just one atom thick – making it a potential successor to silicon – and sensors that can detect just a single molecule of a toxic gas.
A team of materials scientists and physicists from Manchester recently reported that graphene has the potential to replace carbon fibres in high performance materials that are used to build aircraft.
University of Manchester President and Vice-Chancellor Nancy Rothwell said: “This is fantastic news. We are delighted that Andre and Konstantin’s work on graphene has been recognised at the very highest level by the 2010 Nobel Prize Committee.
“This is a wonderful example of a fundamental discovery based on scientific curiosity with major practical, social and economic benefits for society.”
Vice-President and Dean of Engineering and Physical Sciences Professor Colin Bailey added: “This is a truly tremendous achievement, and is a testimony to the quality of research that is being carried out in Physics and more broadly across the University”.
At aged 36 Konstantin Novoselov is the 13th youngest of the 189 Physics Nobel Laureates. He is just one member of the next generation of brilliant academics the University is attracting who walk in the footsteps of iconic figures in their field.
The long-term impact of E R Langworthy’s generosity
The Langworthy chair held by Andre Geim was founded through a bequest of £10,000 by E. R. Langworthy in 1874 for the purpose of endowing a Professorship in experimental physics. It began in Owens College which became the Victoria University Manchester and was held by the University’s first Nobel Prize winner Ernest Rutherford who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1908.
Andre Geim becomes the third Langworthy Professor of Physics at Manchester to win the Nobel Prize for Physics. The first was William Lawrence Bragg who won the prize in 1915. At 25 years of age Lawrence remains the youngest Nobel Laureate ever across all disciplines. Lord Patrick Maynard Stuart Blackett, who succeeded Lawrence Bragg and held the chair between 1937 and 1953, won the Physics Prize in 1948.
The endowment continues to support the Langworthy Chair today. The far-sighted generosity of E R Langworthy has therefore directly supported the work of four future Nobel laureates, including Andre Geim’s award 136 years after the endowment was created.
The future of scientific enquiry in the UK
This announcement comes at a time of national debate in the UK around the future of ‘pure’ science funding and freedom of movement for the world’s top scientists.
Professor Martin Rees, president of the UK’s Royal Society commented “It would be hard to envisage better exemplars of the value of enabling outstanding individuals to pursue ‘open-ended’ research projects whose outcome is unpredictable. These two brilliant scientists were attracted to the UK by the promise of adequate funding and a supportive environment in a first-rate university. There are surely important lessons to be drawn by the Government from the Nobel Committee’s decision.
“The UK must sustain our science at a competitive level in a world where talent is mobile and other countries are advancing fast – and eliminate immigration restrictions that would impede the in-flow of talent. The UK’s investment in the physical sciences is paying off and needs to be sustained.”
The award has attracted major national and international press coverage:
The Daily Telegraph
How pencil lead and sticky tape led to Nobel Prize
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Dear Friends of Sybil
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- Flour 9 oz.
- Butter non salted 5 oz.
- I egg
- 2 Desert spoons cold water.
- Use plain white flour. English flour does not need sieving.
- Leave butter out of fridge until it is not vry hard.
- Mix butter into flour in food processor until it is the proverbial bread crumbs.
- Crack egg and whip lightly with a fork.
- Add 2 desert spoons of water to egg whip a little more.
- Pour into processor and start machine again.
- Soon it will form a ball, stop machine.
- Take out pastry, lightly flour ball and wrap in kitchen paper.
- Leave at room temperature for a while or even overnight if convenient to start your tart the day before.
Do not put in the fridge. This makes pastry hard and unworkable.
This pastry rolled out and lifted easily.
I cooked it at Regulo 6, first doing blind baking with beans on cooking paper holding down the pastry for the preliminary cooking.
I then removed the beans and put slices of pears and peaches on the tart and put back in oven to finish cooking.
Madame Rolland came in and started talking when it was almost perfect. I had left it for the final few minutes.
Half an hour later I leapt up smelling the over cooked tart to pull a nearly burned tart from the oven.
I am sure it would have been good. Never mind! so my final instruction…
Use your timer, memory and nose to remove pastry when cooked.
Tuesday 29 May 1945
By today my will power is defeated. I lay in bed when I should have been up for early Mass.
I gave in a nasty exercise on turning parts of Hannibal and Epaminondas into ‘oratio obliqua”. Betty had practically done it for me the night before in the library. Eileen Betty’s sister did not turn up again and Betty left her writing case at Victoria. A disheartening day.
Wednesday 30 May
Essay on Barbarossa returned. I lunched with Marie Gormer and Pat’s crowd in the Snack Bar of Women s Union.
Went to Central Reference Library to start an essay on the Crusades. slogged on books in French.
Phoned Mama. she met me in Town having brought some provisions for the Sedgley party. I sent a PC to Auntie annie about the Sedgley Choir Broadcast.
Thursday 31 May
Feast of Corpus Christi. We went to the Priory for Mass and Holy Communion.
Liver paste for breakfast.
Prof Redford gave his last lecture–an awfully good one.
During this week I think I spent every spare minute swotting at Maupassant.
That night at Sedgley Dr. Knight lectured on Eliot, a magnificent lecture which inspired me afterwards to write a huge letter home chock full of Eliot quotations.
Before the lecture Mother Cecily asked me to sit next to her and share my Eliot with her. Thus I was mixed with the Hierarchy. She also asked me to contribute to the discussion to prevent Knights taking away the idea that Sedgley was altogether dumb.
Julie Lynch and Joan Ince from the University English school came to the lecture.
Knights did “The Hollow Men” “Ash Wednesday” “A Song for Simeon” “Triumphal March” and the Four Quartets of which only the first “Burnt Norton ” is in My Eliot.
Julie was absolutely thrilled and we went to bed enraptured. A splendid evening ( Knights was one of the foremost exponents of Eliot’s Poetry.)
Friday 1 June
Did not get up (for Mass)
Whitehead in his last set book lecture did the first three stories in Maupassant. In the afgernoon he gave a literature lecture on Maupasssnt, truly excellent. He compared Daudet and Maupassant with real psychological insight.
The I took Sister Vincent to the Drawing room of the Union to hear the Sedgley broadcast. Lyn Lewis came in to hear it. The singing sounded very good but was spoilt for me by the rotten wireless.
Later went to Caf. Austin & Tony Delahunty were there, Frank arrived with a new girl June Terry.
I went to Christie for a book on the Crusades. came back to find Joan and Shirley with B. & B. in the reading Room. After some time we went to get ready for the Ambrose Barlow Society party.
In the ensuing conversation perhaps as a result of this Teddy described Betty’s hair as straw.
In “Ash Wednesday I noticed a line
“Oh my people what have I done unto thee” which I recognised as a quotation from the Reproaches sung in the Good Friday Mass.(Micah 6:3)
We had a long argument about whether they were called reproaches or not. Bernard said no and his missal in latin gave them without a heading. strangely enough no Catholic seemed to have heard of them. Bernard recommended all Maritain’s works and James Joyce’s “Ulysses” as reading.
After Hicks’ Lecture I suddenly remembered it was the History tea in honour of Prof. Cheney’s arrival. I sat next to Rosalind Wrong ( an excellent young lecturer) or rather she to me. She was most amusing.
Cheney gave an address on the correct use of words in essays and lectures which rather amused Prof. Redford who said if we were all as careful as Cheney we would never get anything done.
When the end of the tea was announced I muttered to myself “this is the way the world ends” 3 times “not with a bang but a whimper.”
Miss Wrong made the astonishing remark “Do you know what a prickly pear is?” Obviously she is acquainted with “Ash Wednesday”.
Unfortunately I was too dumbfounded to reply.
In Caf. were B. & B. with Robert Markus (and his friends Walter Stein, Jean Radcliffe.) Bernard McCabe had left for Middlebrough.
I returned to Sedgley alone and chewed toffees and read Edith Sitwell’s Criticism of Eliot which I thought very penetrating.ThenI went to Benediction. Gave Mother Cecily some books on Eliot. She is very enthusiastic the only one of the Sedgley lecturers who seems interested in modern poetry.