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Nobel Prizes and inspirational work

Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov received the 2010 Nobel Prize for Physics for their work on graphene. ( See University of Manchester scientists win the Nobel Prize for Physics ) This has created interest not just in graphene, but also in the exploratory nature of the research that led to graphene’s discovery.

A Sunday Telegraph article, Reap the rewards of letting your employees run free (5 Dec 2010) [available from Factiva] highlights it was “in their Friday evening experiments – not their regular, day-to-day work – that the scientists made their graphene breakthrough.”  The article makes the case for encouraging employees to spend a small proportion of their time on exciting or inspirational ideas which could lead to a breakthrough if successful.

My New Year resolution is therefore to spend a small amount of time on interesting problems related-to, but not part-of, my day-to-day work. For example, are there techniques for refining literature searches to identify those articles, books, etc. which are most accessible to a non-specialist?

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