Our scientists visit The National Graphene Institute

Last term, three of our budding scientists travelled to The National Graphene Institute in Manchester to meet Nobel Prize Laureate Sir Konstantin Novoselov. 

They were joined by students and science teachers from our sister academies for a day learning all about the fascinating material, Graphene. They were also joined by Trust Director Frank Norris, Board Chair Russell Gill and Head of the Co-op Steve Murrell. 

Graphene research has been pioneered by Sir Novoselov and his team at Manchester University, and it was for this research that they received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010. 

The students (and teachers) learnt about how Graphene can be made, and the many uses including as a super conductor and in phone screens. Graphene is also the strongest material ever tested, making it a very exciting material to study. 

All of the students had completed a physics homework in order to attend the day, and for the first (and probably last) time this homework was marked by a Nobel Prize winner. 

Kostya, as Sir Konstantin goes by, showed students how graphene can be mass produced with just a simple strip of scotch tape. Kostya applied a small blot of graphite on to a piece of scotch tape, as the students repeatedly applied the blot to the tape it spread, getting thinner and thinner. By doing this they were getting the graphene down to as thin as possible; graphene is actually only one atom thick.

Everyone was also given a tour of the Institute's state of the art 'clean labs' where most of the graphene research takes place. The labs are so specialist that even the floors are specially made to counteract any interference from passing cars that could affect the measuring equipment. 

The day was an extraordinary chance to meet some of the world's leading scientific minds and learn more about a world-changing material. Not only did the students get expert insight, they actually got to take part in some real experiments in a scientific field that is still relatively new!

Thank you so much to Steve Murrell, Co-op Academies Trust, The National Graphene Institute and Sir Konstantin Novoselov for inviting us to be a part of the event. 

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