Nobel Prize winning physics on kids TV – Graphene

In this weeks Cool Stuff Collective we ventured into some very high end and future thinking technology to talk about the centuries apparent wonder material Graphene. Initially I had this on a list of things to do but was not sure if it would work. Independently from my list the shows creator @marleyman007 said why are we not doing anything about Graphene. That was a very clear green light to give it a go.
Graphene has some amazing properties, it is an atom thin layer of carbon that is bonded into a hexagonal structure. It, like most things in science is a whole load of other variants but for the purposes of explaining it on the show we stuck to this structure.
Ros worked her producer magic again and managed to source this from Manchester. A real sample of graphene. The flecks in the postage stamp sized piece glass are single atomic layers of Graphene.
Graphene Yes you can see atoms.
We also tried to explain the potential strength of this formation of carbon by explaining if you had a clingfilm thin sheet of graphene it could support the weight of an elephant. Placing a cuddly toy elephant on a bowl covered with actual cling film.
It appears that graphene is super strong, light, thin, has interesting electrical properties, thermal conductive properties many of which that are continuing to be explored. Even the UK government is putting a little bit of research money into it!
I was very keen to add that this was not some random piece of science but that it was experiments on Graphene that won the 2010 Nobel prize for physics
There is lots to look at about graphene, and whilst it is looked down upon the Wikipedia article is a good place to get a starter feel for the depth of potential of this material.
I know some people get nervous of dismissive of “wonder materials” and world changing claims. We will of course have to wait and see, but it does seem to be a very positive step and one that our scientists of the future will be exploring further.
(I also found out that predlet 1.0 has actually talked about graphene in science at junior school which is brilliant news)
Lots of back catalogue versions of the show are still on the ITV player too.

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