The two scientists from Russia received the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics for being the first to create and research graphene at the University of Manchester. Graphene is the very flattest variant of carbon: it is only a single atom thick. Due to its properties (strong, flexible, impermeable and highly conductive), graphene holds great promise for a variety of technological applications.
To investigate the properties of this unusual material, the researchers used the facilities of HFML/Felix, Radboud University's high magnetic field lab, among others. Geim and Novoselov were both familiar with the lab and have worked there in the past. Novoselov also received his doctorate from Nijmegen magnet researcher Jan-Kees Maan.
While working in the Netherlands, they also got to know their compatriot Mikhail Katsnelson. The professor of theoretical physics published about the physical properties of the two-dimensional carbon molecule even before the actual discovery of graphene. It was the beginning of a fruitful collaboration. Without Katsnelson's help, research would never have gotten this far this quickly, Geim indicated in his Nobel Prize speech.