When the word ‘Graphene’ first graced my ears, it reminded poor me of a fantasy creature, Griffin. The griffin has several other names: Griffon or Gryphon. This creature has an eagle’s head and wings as well as a lion’s body. I like this being since I played the creature in an old game, ‘Heroes of Might and Magic II’. I could recall the figure well enough regardless of whether I mixed up the name as graphene or griffin.
Who would dare imagine that a startling discovery, the wonder material called graphene, could be found by using sticky tape and graphite? (Graphite often dwells in a pencil as lead.) Before looking into it, there are two physicists, Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, the co-winners the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics. The honorable achievement they have built disproves they just had a “lucky hunch.” Andre Geim was famous as a winner of the ‘Ig Nobel Prize’ (2000) due to a smart experiment of levitating a frog magnetically and other eccentric experiments. His student, Novoselov, was the one who originally separated the graphene from graphite with sticky tape. How could one know that way about graphite would be possible even if other scientists had tentatively known of the method? It is obvious that the two men have fascinating physical insight as we have seen in their previous works until now. Graphene is a one-
atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms. Its own two-dimensional lattice structure looks like a honeycomb which consists of bound hexagons. “Graphene is stronger and stiffer than diamonds, yet it can be stretched by a quarter of its length, like rubber. Its surface area is the largest known for its weight,” Andre Geim said. Why is it not a treasure box for science and technology? Graphene is getting investigated more in terms of its mass production and the application: flexible touchscreens, graphene ink, solar cells, etc. What we can highly evaluate here would be the great discernment for their study in their area rather than the detailed usefulness of grapheme, for we are neither the experts nor those with deep understanding. (Graphene is unforgettable, of course.) How can such discernment and insight apply to science only? I believe the ability to get insight, including hunches, is given to everybody who tries to have a better result in his or her area. As with the saying ‘No pain, no gain,’ let’s say no insight, no solution. Our history is of the great men and women who had insight that nobody had yet pointed to. We all might go into history if we “create” a lucky hunch.