By Will Soutter
Sir Andre Geim has been awarded the Royal Society's Copley Medal, the world's oldest scientific award, for his work on graphene and other two-dimensional materials. The medal is given for oustanding achievements in the physical or biological sciences - previous recipients include Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein.
Geim was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2010, along with Sir Kostya Novoselov, for their work on graphene, the 2D carbon nanomaterial, which they isolated for the first time in 2004. Novoselov is also on the Royal Society's honours list, receiving the Leverhulme Medal.
The Leverhulme Medal, which is awarded only once every three years (the Copley Medal is given annually), is specific to the fields of chemistry and engineering.
Novoselov's award makes specific mention of the many potential applications of graphene, whereas Geim's Copley Medal is worded much less specifically, citing his "research on two-dimensional atomic crystals and their artificial heterostructures."
“I am absolutely delighted to receive this old and prestigious award. Not only I am humbled, I also feel younger.
“I especially appreciate that the medal recognizes my post-Nobel work on atomically-thin materials and their smart assemblies, the new research field richer and even more exciting than graphene itself.” - Sir Andre Geim
Sir Kostya, however, is still excited about developing the real-world applications of graphene, and is heavily involved in the University of Manchester's Graphene Institute, a $100 million research and commercialization facility set to open in 2015.
“It has always been part of the excitement of the work on graphene – most fundamental experiments in the physics of this material often lead to the creation of new devices and applications.
"The developments of the recent few years show that such transition goes even smoother and faster than one could have envisaged.” - Sir Kostya Novoselov