2010 Nobel Prize In Physics
Not many scientists can claim their work has unlocked an entirely new area of scientific research. This is the impact Professor Sir Konstantin Novoselov’s work on graphene has had in the field of material science.
In 2004, Sir Konstantin and Professor Sir Andre Geim successfully isolated graphene—the first known two-dimensional (2D) material—and mapped its unique properties. This one-atom-thick layer of carbon found in a hexagonal lattice is flexible, an excellent conductor of heat and electricity and about 100 times stronger than steel.
Before their breakthrough, other scientists had tried unsuccessfully to obtain graphene. Many thought that such a thin crystalline material could not be stable. The discovery of graphene paved the way for experiments on other 2D atomic crystals with superior and versatile properties. By assembling layers of graphene, the possibility of creating new materials with a wide range of applications in fields such as technology, electronics and biosensors is limitless.
In recognition of their groundbreaking work with graphene, Sir Konstantin and Sir Andre were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010. In an interview with Nobel Media, Sir Konstantin has expressed how proud he was of Sir Andre’s decision not to patent graphene or their work when they published their first paper. Instead, they invited numerous scientists to collaborate, expanding research in graphene dramatically. Since then, Sir Konstantin has collaborated with leading industrial companies and initiated multiple spin-offs in printable and flexible electronics and materials for thermal management.
Sir Konstantin led the team that conceptualised and established the National Institute of Graphene in Manchester, proposing unique architectural and technical innovations. He is the scientific director of this institute and a Langworthy Professor of Physics and Royal Society Research Professor at the University of Manchester. In 2019, he joined the National University of Singapore (NUS) as Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering.
He enjoys collaborations and believes the most important aspect in scientific work is the community one builds. “I find it much more stimulating if you collaborate. So, my task now is to create this sense of community in my lab at NUS,” he said in an interview with NUS.
Since 2014, Sir Konstantin has consistently been featured on the list of the world’s most highly cited researchers, with over 250 peer-reviewed research papers published to date. His seminal 2004 Science paper on graphene remains one of the top 100 papers cited in science in all fields. He has received numerous international recognitions, including knighthood in the Netherlands and UK.
Sir Konstantin is formally educated in and maintains an active interest in modern Chinese art, where he collaborates with prominent artists. In his artwork, he uses novel approaches and materials, the most notable of which is the introduction of graphene ink.