Andre Geim, a German Russian, is Awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics

Press release from the Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland e.V., Stuttgart, Germany, October, 2010

Translation from the original German-language text to American English is provided by Alex Herzog, Boulder, CO. 

German Language

An October 5, 2010 announcement stated that two scientists, Prof. Dr. Andre Geim (52) and Prof. Konstantin Novoselov (36), will share equally this year’s Nobel Prize for Physics. Both were born in Russia and are now living and doing research in Manchester, Great Britain. These researchers are being honored for their groundbreaking work on a super-thin carbon material called graphene. The Nobel Committee of the Royal Swedish Academy of Science commented that this material may well revolutionize the world of electronics.

Andre Geim is the very first German Russian to receive a Nobel Prize. By now Geim possesses Dutch citizenship, but considers himself a “globetrotter traveling in Europe from country to country …” For some time now he and his wife, Galina Grigorieva, have been living in Manchester, where he has been performing research and where since 2001 he has held the position of Professor of Physics at the University of Manchester.

Andre Geim was born in 1958 to German parents in the city of Sochi in the North Caucasus region of the former Soviet Union. In 1965 his family moved to Nalchik/Kabardino-Balkaria, where in 1975 Andre completed his schooling with excellent marks (at “School # 3,” which required intensive study of English). His father, Konstantin Geim (born in 1910 in Saratov [in the Volga region]), was chief engineer at an electro-vacuum plant in Nalchik, and at the same plant his mother, Nina Bayer (b. 1927) worked as chief technologist, and his brother Vladislav (b. 1951) as an engineer. During the 1990s members of the family emigrated to Germany, where Andre’s father died in 1998.

Because of his German origins, Andre was unable to fulfill his dream of studying at the Moscow Physics Research Institute. Following two failed attempts to pass the entrance exams – only later would he learn that his German roots had been the sole stumbling block – he instead attended the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, where he studied until 1982. He received his PhD in 1987 at the Institute for Solid-State Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Chernogolovka, and for three years following he worked on research in the area of microelectronics technology at that Institute. There followed research stints in England and in Denmark. In 1994 Geim was appointed Associate Professor at the University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands, and in 2001 he transferred to the University of Manchester, where he has been a Professor of Physics ever since.

In physics, this researcher is considered to be one who can do it all, one who in his own specialty covers a broad bandwidth of topics. Geim and his research have increasingly gained the attention of the broader public. He has published a multitude of groundbreaking articles and books and is considered the eminent authority in his field. For his research he had already been honored many times. Since 2007 he has been a member of the Royal Society, and this year he received the Hughes Medal from the Royal Society.

It was in 2004 when Andre Geim discovered the material called graphene, an ultra-thin crystal consisting of only a single layer of carbon atoms. These two-dimensional crystals are as hard as a diamond, but also rather flexible. They conduct electricity better and faster than other materials and thus promise to revolutionize microelectronics as well as computer technology. In 2009 Geim was awarded the richly endowed German Körber Prize for European Science.  

(Look for a more detailed report on this topic in the upcoming November, 2010 issue of Volk auf dem Weg.)

Our appreciation is extended to Alex Herzog for translation of this press release.

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