Scientific showman wins award for levitating frog
Professor Andre Geim is a genial genius. A man who is as prepared to accept a Nobel Prize for his work as its jokey counterpart, the Ig Nobel Prize.
He is the least likely boffin you could meet – a cheery Russian who launched Friday night experiments in his lab to brainstorm ideas with his colleagues.
One of these sessions led to the discovery of graphene, the world's thinnest material and vital in the production of semi-conductors.
The discovery came about by reducing layers of material using scotch tape. It's the kind of quirky approach to science that has spread Professor Geim's fame far and wide.
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His other experiments and discoveries proved equally eye-catching. He believed water to have magnetic properties and demonstrated this by passing water through a giant magnet, where it floated.
He then tried fruit and vegetables and small insects until finally – on the grounds that his own head was too big – he ended up with a levitating frog, suspended by the action of the water in his body and the magnet.
He also replicated the way in which a gekko can attach to surfaces and created a super-sticky material.
This fascinating Beautiful Minds documentary didn't stop at Professor Geim's work, but explored his extraordinary background and personality, with interviews from colleagues and his wife.
He was a Russian of German descent and his heritage prevented him from doing well at Russian universities and so he came to the West where he became a kind of scientific entrepreneur, or as one colleague described it, "an entertainer and showman".
Serious science may have been behind his work and he was certainly productive, publishing two papers within six months of his arrival in the UK. But he was also keen to have fun. "Annoying your colleagues is one of the pleasures I will never give up," he laughed.