Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Best British Invention

As a nation the British have always been good at research. There is a huge list of inventions that we came up with and then failed to develop. It has not always been that way. Take the railways, invented here developed and used to compliment the canals to keep the industrial revolution going. War has also provided a stimulus to invent. The bouncing bomb and electronic computing come to mind. The bouncing bomb provided a war time solution to a problem. As did colossus which helped to speed up the deciphering of German communications. Colossus was the first truly electronic, digital and programmable computer.

Graphine is another such invention. At the time of its isolation in 2004 many researchers were already familiar with graphene's composition, structure and properties, which had been calculated decades earlier. Graphene is strong, light, nearly transparent and an excellent conductor of heat and electricity. Its interactions with other materials and with light and its inherently two-dimensional nature produce unique properties, such as the bipolar transistor effect, ballistic transport of charges and large quantum oscillations.

The combination of familiarity, extraordinary properties and surprising ease of isolation enabled a rapid increase in graphene research. Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov at the University of Manchester won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010 "for ground breaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene".

So will Graphine prove to be a new 'revolution' for the future and where does it rate in the list of the best 50 British Inventions. 

  1. THERMOS FLASK Invented: 1892 Inventor: Sir James Dewar
  2. LAWNMOWER Invented: 1827 Inventor: Edwin Beard Budding
  3. FLOAT GLASS Invented: 1959 Inventor: Alastair Pilkington
  4. LIGHT BULB Invented: 1880 Inventor: Joseph Swan
  5. CHOCOLATE BAR Invented: 1847 Inventor: JS Fry & Sons
  6. ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH Invented: 1837 Inventors: Charles Wheatstone and William Cooke
  7. PNEUMATIC TYRE Invented: 1887 Inventor: John Boyd Dunlop
  8. MODERN FIRE EXTINGUISHER Invented: 1818 Inventor: George William Manby
  9. CATSEYE Invented: 1933 Inventor: Percy Shaw
  10. CARBON FIBRE Invented: 1963 Inventors: Royal Aircraft Establishment Engineers
  11. STEAM ENGINE Invented: 1801 Inventor: Richard Trevithick
  12. WORLDWIDE WEB Invented: 1989 Inventor: Tim Berners-Lee
  13. SODA WATER Invented: 1772 Inventor: Joseph Priestley
  14. HYPODERMIC SYRINGE Invented: 1853 Inventor: Alexander Wood
  15. REFLECTING TELESCOPE Invented: 1668 Inventor: Isaac Newton
  16. TELEPHONE Patented: 1876 Inventor: Alexander Graham Bell
  17. COLLAPSIBLE BABY BUGGY Invented: 1965 Inventor: Owen Maclaren
  18. STEAM TURBINE Invented: 1884 Inventor: Charles Parsons
  19. MARINE CHRONOMETER Invented: 1761 Inventor: John Harrison
  20. TELEVISION Invented: 1925 Inventor: John Logie Baird
  21. SYNTHETIC DYE Invented: 1856 Inventor: William Perkin
  22. HIP REPLACEMENT Invented: 1962 Inventor: John Charnley
  23. PASSENGER RAILWAY Invented: 1825 Inventor: George Stephenson
  24. MILITARY TANK Invented: 1914 Inventor: Ernest Swinton
  25. TOOTHBRUSH Invented: c. 1770 Inventor: William Addis
  26. LINOLEUM Invented: 1860 Inventor: Frederick Walton
  27. AUTOMATIC KETTLE Invented: 1955 Inventor: Peter Hobbs
  28. MODERN TORPEDO Invented: 1866 Inventor: Robert Whitehead
  29. GLIDER Invented: 1804 Inventor: George Cayley
  30. JET ENGINE Invented: 1937 Inventor: Frank Whittle
  31. WIND-UP RADIO Invented: 1991 Inventor: Trevor Baylis
  32. SAFETY BICYCLE Invented: 1885 Inventor: John Kemp Starley
  33. CEMENT Invented: 1824 Inventor: Joseph Aspdin
  34. TENSION-SPOKED WHEEL Invented: 1808 Inventor: George Cayley
  35. SEED DRILL Invented: 1701 Inventor: Jethro Tull
  36. STAINLESS STEEL Invented: 1913 Inventor: Harry Brearley
  37. SPINNING FRAME Invented: 1768 Inventor: Richard Arkwright
  38. BESSEMER PROCESS Invented: 1856 Inventor: Henry Bessemer
  39. ELECTRIC MOTOR Invented: 1821 Inventer: Michael Faraday
  40. PHOTOGRAPHY Invented: 1835 Inventor: William Henry Fox Talbot
  41. HYDRAULIC PRESS Invented: 1795 Inventor: Joseph Bramah
  42. SEWAGE SYSTEM Invented: 1865 Inventor: Joseph Bazalgette
  43. ELECTRONIC PROGRAMMABLE COMPUTER Invented: 1943 Inventor: Tommy Flowers
  44. HOVERCRAFT Invented: 1953 Inventor: Christopher Cockerell
  45. TIN CAN Invented: 1810 Inventor: Peter Durand
  46. STERI-SPRAY Invented: 2008 Inventor: Ian Helmore
  47. WATERPROOF MATERIAL Invented: 1823 Inventor: Charles Macintosh
  48. ATM Invented: 1967 Inventor: John Shepherd-Barron
  49. ELECTRIC VACUUM CLEANER Invented: 1901 Inventor: Hubert Cecil Booth
  50. DISC BRAKES Invented: 1902 Inventor: Frederick William Lanchester
The Radio Times is running a poll where you can vote for the 'best invention' in the list. Click Here

After you have voted look in the list of comments and see if you like me and many others think the list should be much much longer!

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