The discovery of graphene is truly one of the "eureka moments" of our time. It is the story of how Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov realized that the discarded strips of Scotch Tape routinely used to produce clean surfaces on blocks of graphite were not useless – but might actually be covered with a type of carbon only previously spoken of in scientific fables. Having demonstrated the production of graphene for the first time, Geim and Novoselov worked with speed and purpose to show that this material possess all kinds of wonderful properties, including its unprecedented strength, electrical conductivity and complete impermeability. For their studies of this one-atom-thick form of carbon, the scientists were awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize for Physics just seven years after they had described their initial discovery.

Physics World invited Geim to Bristol to give a public talk about the discovery of graphene, as part of a special lecture series to celebrate 25 years of the magazine's publication. At the sell-out event, attended by more than 400 people, the Nobel laureate talked about why he is still so passionate about fundamental research. He told the story of graphene and discussed some of the exciting applications of the material that are beginning to emerge. The audience was also treated to a description of Geim's earlier work on levitating frogs, which led to him sharing the Ig Nobel prize in 2000.

Date: Wednesday 23 October 2013

Speaker: Andre Geim is a condensed-matter physicist at the University of Manchester in the UK. He shared the 2010 Nobel Prize with Konstantin Novoselov for "groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene".