• Question: have you ever invented anything?

    Asked by milliemc to James, Marcus, Martin, Rob, Suzanne on 12 Mar 2012. This question was also asked by picko12, blackbladedragolao64, amyymae.
    • Photo: Martin Zaltz Austwick

      Martin Zaltz Austwick answered on 12 Mar 2012:

      I have a bit of a patent (which is something that says I’ve invented something, I suppose). It’s for cleaning Carbon Nanotubes (tiny carbon tubes) by putting them in a microwave. No, really.

      The microwave burns the junk we don’t want, whereas the nanotubes tend not to get as hot, and don’t burn as much. It’s really simple, but seemed to work quite well.

    • Photo: Robert Thompson

      Robert Thompson answered on 12 Mar 2012:

      I haven’t invented anything, hopefully at some point in the future I’ll invent something cool.

    • Photo: Suzanne McEndoo

      Suzanne McEndoo answered on 12 Mar 2012:

      I came up with a new way of making an atom change the direction it’s rotating, or even make it rotate in two directions at once. It hasn’t been done in a lab yet though (just with maths), so I’m not sure it counts as inventing something.

    • Photo: James Boone

      James Boone answered on 12 Mar 2012:

      I haven’t invented anything materialistic that can be “touched”. During my research I did come up with a mathematical parametric equation that allows me to transform a flat layer of graphene into a folded structure. Then I had to write a computer program to do the maths for me. It was very satisfying once it was completed.

    • Photo: Marcus Gallagher-Jones

      Marcus Gallagher-Jones answered on 12 Mar 2012:

      I contributed to the invention of a protein microarray whilst I was an undergraduate. It’s basically a method of looking at how thousands of different proteins interact by printing them on a glass slide. Some of the proteins are tagged with a molecule that glows when exposed to laser light so we can check for the interactions. It was pretty satisfying the first time it lit up.