Desert Island Discs

BBC Radio 4

Society & Culture, Personal Journals

Chart Positions

Personal Journals 31

Desert Island Discs was created by Roy Plomley in 1942, and the format is simple: a guest is invited by Kirsty Young to choose the eight records they would take with them to a desert island


Sir Andre Geim

March 30th, 2014

Episode 414 of 566 episodes

Kirsty Young's castaway is the Nobel Prize-winning physicist, Professor Sir Andre Geim. Born in the Soviet Union, his early years were spent in Sochi with his grandmother, a meteorologist. And it was perhaps her small weather station on the beach that sparked an early interest in science. As a student his intellect was rigorous but his timing was also spot on:"glasnost", the political movement that swept open the Iron Curtain, enabled him to travel and study throughout Europe, finally settling at Manchester University. It was his work developing the substance graphene that won him science's highest prize. Graphene has many exciting properties: it is the thinnest and strongest material ever discovered; using it, electricity can travel a million meters a second; it has unique levels of light absorption and is flexible and stretchable. Of his research he says, "It's like being Sherlock Holmes but being a detective of science. It's trying to find things out using very limited information ... like a hair on your coat, or dirt on your shoes, or some lipstick - the winner is the one who needs the fewest hints to get the answer". Producer: Cathy Drysdale.