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Cakes that are out of this world, what’s on Andre Geim’s iPod and who’s the April fool?

The joke’s on me: click on the image for a larger version where you can see the instruction for users

The joke’s on me: click on the image for a larger version where you can see the instruction for users

By Hamish Johnston

On Tuesday I was feeling particularly pleased with myself over the April Fool’s piece that I penned. It was about a fictitious microwave-oven ban organized by radio astronomers at the UK’s Jodrell Bank Observatory. But now it looks like I might have a bit of microwaved egg on my face because two of my colleagues visited Jodrell Bank this week and guess what? Astronomers there have built a Faraday cage around the microwave in their tearoom to stop it from interfering with their equipment. Louise Mayor took the above photos: click on the image to read the reminder to microwave users.

Moving on to the astronomy of conventional ovens, would you like to bake a cake that is a “scientifically accurate” representation of a planet? Making a moist Jupiter sponge or perhaps an iced Earth should be no trouble at all after reading “How to bake scientifically accurate cake planets”.

Jodrell Bank is operated by the University of Manchester and one of that university’s most famous physicists, Andre Geim, was featured this week on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs. A British institution, the programme combines a personal interview with a selection of the interviewee’s favourite music. The Nobel laureate spoke of his childhood in the Soviet Union, where he was considered an outsider because both his parents were German. Geim also muses over the scientific process, shares his views on students and explains why he decided to levitate a live frog. You can listen to the interview here. Oh, Geim’s musical tastes range from Bach to Pink Floyd to Red Army marching songs.

Geim is famous for the isolation of graphene in 2004, for which he was awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize for Physics along with his Manchester colleague Kostya Novoselov. Since 2004 thousands of researchers worldwide have been exploring the strange and wonderful properties of the 2D material. Today IOP Publishing, which brings you physicsworld.com, has launched a brand-new journal called 2D Materials. This publishes original research on 2D materials such as graphene across a breadth of disciplines including physics, chemistry, engineering and biology.

The first issue includes a video featuring Tony Heinz (the journal’s regional editor for North America) and Luigi Colombo (editorial board member) talking about the aims and coverage of 2D Materials. You can watch it below.

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