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Nobel Prize in Physics For Discovery of Graphene 139

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the all-sorts-of-grats dept.
bugsbunnyak writes "The 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded for the discovery of graphene to Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov. Graphene is a novel one-atom-thick lattice state of carbon which has demonstrated unique quantum mechanical properties. These properties derive in part from the 2-dimensional nature of the material: quantum interactions are constrained to the effectively planar dimension of the lattice. Graphene holds promise for physical applications including touch screens, light cells, and potentially solar panels. Geim becomes the first scientist to achieve a Nobel prize despite earlier winning the highly-coveted Ig Nobel in 2000 for his studies of diamagnetic levitation — also known as The Flying Frog." Slashdot originally mentioned the frog almost exactly 10 years ago.
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Nobel Prize in Physics For Discovery of Graphene

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @12:28PM (#33795612)

    I'm not saying this is what psychics "see" when they "read someone's aura", but there seems to be more to their woo-woo than many skeptics are willing to accept. If there is a measurable energy field around all things, then there might be something to things like Reiki and other eastern traditional medicines.

    Then perhaps you wouldn't mind linking to some peer reviewed research ... [citation needed]

  • by Krahar (1655029) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @12:43PM (#33795792)

    I'm not saying this is what psychics "see" when they "read someone's aura"

    Yes you are - that is exactly what you are saying. It is just that you don't want to stand by what you are saying; not that I blame you for that.

  • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zrbyte (1666979) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @12:45PM (#33795812)
    I happen to work in this field and I think the prize is well deserved. Ever since the 2004 - 2005 papers [doi.org] of these guys the number of peer reviewed, graphene related publications has grown exponentially every year. So they have had (and still have) a major impact on physics, not counting all the possible applications of this material.

    Although graphene was observed in various experiments in the 70s [wikipedia.org], these guys have realized its true potential. Furthermore, the discovery came in just the right moment in (scientific) history, where we have the sophisticated tools to study this material. No use inventing the spaceship in the middle ages (if you pardon the crude analogy).

  • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @12:54PM (#33795918) Journal

    Yes. When aligned by the other magnetic field. I cannot simply take a compass and hold it next to a frog for results.

    And none of that seems to point towards emotional state affecting any of it, which is the part specifically that the AC quoted.

  • by Moraelin (679338) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @12:55PM (#33795922) Journal

    Not to take anything away from the graphene story, but the floating frog story is really interesting.

    It posits that there is a magnetic field surrounding all matter. The positive and negative particles produce a tiny force that can be measured with even crude instruments like a compass. Strangely, these fields become stronger and weaker depending on many variables, including emotional state, vitality, and stress levels.

    I'm not saying this is what psychics "see" when they "read someone's aura", but there seems to be more to their woo-woo than many skeptics are willing to accept. If there is a measurable energy field around all things, then there might be something to things like Reiki and other eastern traditional medicines.

    Actually, sorry, the ultimate test for that is that Randi still has a 1 million dollars prize for whoever can demonstrate any paranormal abilities in a controlled setting. Aura reading does explicitly qualify, and has been tested ad nauseam before, only to turn out bunk every time.

    So if you think a psychic can read such things at all, just send them here: Challenge Application [randi.org]

    Hey, you could be doing them a favour. Humanity too. Think of how many people they could treat or how many other psychics they could train with that money.

    But until one actually does win the prize, I hope you'll understand why I'm less than impressed if yet another gullible mark handwaves some vague "we don't know" as a reason to believe in bullshit woowoo. Not knowing something is false is not a reason to believe there's something to it. What you illustrate there is just the mainstream form of the [wikipedia.org]. The question isn't what skeptics are willing to accept, but what can be supported by evidence. That's all.

  • Re:Interesting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by l2718 (514756) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @12:59PM (#33795986)
    Oh -- I definitely agree that the prise is well deserved. It's just notable that a well-deserved prize is given 6 years after publication and not 36 years after publication. It's also notable that you don't always need very expensive equipment to do ground-breaking work in condensed matter physics -- it's still possible to do top-notch research with everyday tools.
  • by Moraelin (679338) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @01:04PM (#33796056) Journal

    Yes. It turns out it's actually an advantage to be able to recognize the cheap magician tricks that half of these frauds use. (The other half being just poor deluded idiots.)

    But nevertheless, the methodology is pretty public and straightforward. Very much in line with the scientific method too.

    But ultimately that's just irrelevant anyway. He's not offering his million for showing the quantum reasons for that aura reading or anything. He just asks someone to prove they can do whatever they claim to do. If they claim to be able to read an aura, they can get a million dollars for doing just that. Should be easy money if they actually can, right?

  • by WrongMonkey (1027334) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @01:10PM (#33796152)
    Randi is a scientist. Anyone who applies the scientific method is a scientist.
  • by Moraelin (679338) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @01:21PM (#33796322) Journal

    Except, again, for the fact that none of them seem able to actually do what they claim to do.

    Finding (pseudo) sciencey-sounding explanation before even knowing if there's a phenomenon to explain in the first place, has a name. It's called Tooth Fairy Science [skepdic.com].

    Sure, one can handwave a whole theory about what might be the physics behind the tooth fairy, and the market value of different kinds of teeth, and whatever. But if you don't actually have a phenomenon to explain there, it's just a pointless waste of time.

    Ditto here. Trying to explain how aura reading might work before anyone proved they can actually read an aura (again: anyone can win a million dollars if they just prove they can) is exactly tooth fairy science.

  • Bullshit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Moraelin (679338) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @01:27PM (#33796390) Journal

    Bullshit. If you bothered reading the rules, it just needs to be unexplained at the time you enter the contest. It's one of the things he explicitly addresses.

    But, yes, that one has to be the #1 excuse of gullible marks who still want to believe in fairy tales. It's bullshit, but, hey, I guess when one wants to believe in fairy tales against all evidence, the choices for good rationalizations must be fairly limited.

  • ROFLMAO (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Moraelin (679338) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @01:33PM (#33796472) Journal

    ROFLMAO. That's a backscatter X-Ray photo from an airport scanner, lemming. It has nothing to do with body energy fields or anything.

    Jesus Haploid Christ, I've seen hoaxes and mis-interpretations in support of woowoo, but this is one of the few things that truly take the cake. There is nothing mysterious or magnetic or aura about it. There is no aura there. It's some photons bouncing off matter. You know, elementary physics stuff. There is _no_ aura emitted there at all. It's only the bouncing photons. You turn those off, it ceases.

    And the only way a psychic could see _that_ kind of "aura" is if their eyes could produce such radiation. Which is trivial to measure with a geiger counter, if they want to make such a claim.

  • Heh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Moraelin (679338) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @01:40PM (#33796574) Journal

    So anything that is shown to work automatically disqualifies itself.

    As I said, that's a scam, not a contest.

    The rules clarify exactly the opposite of your claim. And since testing is pretty public it's also verifiable that nobody failed in the way you claim.

    Repeating the same lie one more time won't make it true, you know. We're not in The Hunting Of The Snark.

    So are you a liar or just have genuine comprehension problems?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @01:50PM (#33796742)

    They say it is the mark of an intelligent man to be able to entertain an idea without committing to believing it.

    He is merely saying that the possibility exists, not that this is how he thinks things are. There is a large difference in the two statements.

  • Broken logic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Moraelin (679338) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @01:53PM (#33796808) Journal

    In the words of Carl Sagan: "They laughed at Galileo. They laughed at Newton. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown."

    To put it simply "but they once laughed at X too" or "but they once believed Z to be false too" doesn't really prove anything and is not logical evidence. It's simply a piece of bogus sophistry that proves nothing.

    You know what made us accept the physics behind that scanner photo? Actual evidence. You know what psychic woowoo _doesn't_ have? Actual evidence.

    That's all it really needs. Wake me up when it has any. It's that simple.

Today's scientific question is: What in the world is electricity? And where does it go after it leaves the toaster? -- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"

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