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A genius for making the impossible real

We just learned that the Royal Mail is celebrating British inventors with cartoon-style stamps. The Mail will have its hands full if it wants to stay current. Scientists at the University of Manchester have just announced the creation of a material several hundred thousand times thinner than a postage stamp in the journal Nature. They call it graphene. It's made from a completely new technology that could revolutionise computers and medicine.

According to the Times, the crystalline membrane is formed of carbon atoms in hexagonal groups of six that create a honeycomb pattern. Undulation provides the structure with a third dimension that gives it strength.

The inventors celebrated by the Royal Mail have a flair for doing what no one had thought possible. They include Thomas Telford, the engineer who suspended a bridge from Anglesey to mainland Wales; John Logie Baird, the inventor of television; and Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, photophone, phonograph, and selenium cell. Their innovations are described in this site's Ingenious Timeline. It's quite a trip.