International Basic Sciences Knowledge Contest

Sir Andre Geim


Sir Andre Geim — Soviet, Dutch and British physical scientist, Nobel prize winner in physics 2010 года (together with Konstantin Novoselov), Fellow of the Royal Society of London, primarily famous as one of developers of the first graphene production method. 

He was born in 1958 in Sochi, in a family of engineers of German parentage (the only exclusion known to Geim was his maternal great-great-grandmother, who was Jewish). Geim considers himself as a European and suppose that he does not require more detail “taxonomy”. In 1964, his family moved to Nalchik.

Father, Konstantin Geim (1910—1998), held chief engineer’s position of Nalchik Electrovacuum Plant since 1964; mother, Nina Beier (born in 1927), worked at the same plant as Chief technologist. Mother’s paternal half-brother was the ell-known theoretical physicist Vladimir Beier, son of Nikolay Beier, who was Andre Geim’s grandfather.

In 1975, Andre Geim graduated from Nalchik intermediate school 3 with Gold Medal for Academic Excellence and tried to get into MEPhI, but unsuccessfully (applicant’s German parentage was an obstruction). After coming back to Nalchik, he worked during 8 months at Nalchik Electrovacuum Plant. During this period, he learned V. Petrosian and intensely studied physics with the latter’s assistance. In 1976, he was enrolled in Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.

Till 1982, he was a student of General and Applied Physic Department and graduated it magna cum laude (four in diploma for socialism political economics only) and entered a PhD program. In 1987, he gained degree of Candidate of Physical and Mathematical Sciences in Institute for Solid State Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences. He worked as research scientist for ISSP of Academy of Sciences of the USSR and in Institute of Microtechnology Issues of Academy of Sciences of the USSR.

In 1990, he took a scholarship of the English Royal Society and left the Soviet Union. He worked for the University of Nottingham, the University of Bath, and shortly – for the University of Copenhagen, before he became an assistant professor of the University of Nijmegen, and then, from 2001 – of the University of Manchester. Nowadays he is a head of Manchester Mesoscience and Nanotechnologies Center as well as head of condensed matter physics department.

Geim is a Doctor of Humane Letters of Delft Technical University, Eidgnoessiche Technische Hochschule of Zurich and University of Antwerp. He has granted a Langworthy Professor title of the University of Manchester (this title was given to Earnest Rutherford, Lawrence Bragg and Patrick Blackett).

In 2008, he was proposed to head one of Max Planks Institutes in Germany but refused.

On 31 of December, 2011, according to ordinance of queen Elizabeth II, for his  merit for the science, he was awarded with a title of knight bachelor, with an official right to add the title Sir to his name.

Scientific achievements

Among Geim’s achievements, we shall mention creation of a biometrical adhesive (glue), which later became known as gecko tape.

Besides, his experiment with diamagnetic levitation is well known, including famous “flying frog”. For this experiment, Geim, together with the known mathematician and theorist Sir Michael Berry from the University of Bristol, won the Shnobel prize in 2000.

In 2004, Andre Geim together with his student Konstantin Novoselov has invented production technology for graphene, a new material, composed of monatomic carbon layer. As further experiments have shown, graphene has a number of unique features: he has increased strength, conducts electricity as well as copper, and exceeds all known materials in its thermal conductivity; graphene is transparent for the light but simultaneously solid enough not to let pass even helium molecules, which are the smallest existing molecules. All these features make it an advanced material for different applications, particularly for production of touchscreens, light panels and, possibly, solar batteries.

Some publications

Andre K. Geim. Nobel Lecture: Random walk to graphene (english) // Rev. Mod. Phys.. — 2011. — Vol. 83. — P. 851—862. — DOI:10.1103/RevModPhys.83.851.

Russian translation: А. К. Гейм. Случайные блуждания: непредсказуемый путь к графену // УФН. — 2011. — Т. 181. — С. 1284—1298.


Nobel prize in physics (2010)

Copley Medal (2013)

Hughes Medal (2010)

John J. Carty Award (2010)

Körber Award (2009)

EPS Europhysics Prize (2008)

Mott prize (2007)

Shnobel prize (2000)

Other scientists

Bases of safety of life activity