And now for something completely different: Graphene!
Photo by Nicholas Petrone
I sometimes -- well, all right, often -- post on topics I know nothing about. Nick Bilton, for instance, in "Bend It, Charge It, Dunk It: Graphene, the Material of Tomorrow" (New York Times, April 13, 2014), just recently told me about my ignorance of graphene:
Graphene is the strongest, thinnest material known to exist. A form of carbon, it can conduct electricity and heat better than anything else. And get ready for this: It is not only the hardest material in the world, but also one of the most pliable.I'm just smart enough to understand that this will bring about a radically new form of computing devices that will be thin, light, strong, and flexible. Oddly enough, I dreamt the night before last of an iPad-sized tablet that I could fold into a small rectangle and slip into my pocket, and the day after that dream, I read about graphene and its computing implications:
In 2012, the American Chemical Society said that advancements in graphene were leading to touch-screen electronics that "could make cellphones as thin as a piece of paper and foldable enough to slip into a pocket."This leads me to suspect that I might have read that statement two years ago without paying attention and that my brain mulled it over for a while and finally decided to bring it to my mind's attention . . . but how did my brain know I'd read a report on stuff like this the next day? There's a bigger mystery here than the mystery of graphene itself. But graphene might also help accomplish this other über-phenomenal thing:
[A]n international team of researchers based at M.I.T. has performed tests [on graphene] that could lead to the creation of quantum computers . . .Finally, there's a potential use for quantum mechanics! Subatomic physics hasn't been a waste of time after all!