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December 30th, 2010 Posted in cool science

Science has given us a lot of really cool stuff over the years; velcro, the microwave, led lights, and of course, the computer and internet (which has mostly been used for porn or online shopping).

Now though, science is set to give us even cooler stuff!!  Stuff like a computer chip that operates at 100Ghz by using a new substance called Graphene created by Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, both in the physics department at the University of Manchester, have received the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics. 100Ghz!!!!

Perhaps one reason the prize was bestowed so soon after the work it recognizes is that materials scientists have already taken graphene from basic science experiments to prototypes of new devices. In one noteworthy example from this year, researchers at IBM made graphene transistor arrays that operate at 100 gigahertz—switching on and off 100 billion times each second, about 10 times as fast as the speediest silicon transistors (Graphene Transistors that Can Work at Blistering Speeds). Work at Samsung capitalized on graphene’s conductivity and flexibility to make flexible touch screens (Flexible Touch Screen Made with Printed Graphene).

Flexible touch screens!  Synthetic skin that can feel heat and cold! Thin display wristbands!  Could anyone have imagined all of this would exist twenty years ago?  Hell, I remember my very first computer, it was a tape deck attached to a TV and a keyboard.  Everything you would type would result in the response of “Command not recognized.”

We used to wait in class to see if someone made the mistake of leaving their punch cards unattended and then either just remove one from the stack of about 100 or, even worse, shuffle them like a deck of cards.  Now, I have in my pocket a computer more powerful than the ones used to send the Apollo missions up into space.  In fact, it could do all the computations for those missions while I use it to order a book from Amazon and check my email.

We live in interesting times, that is certain.

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