October 6th, 2010
09:45 AM ET

Letters from the President: #625 'The miracles of 2-D'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: President Obama is a Nobel Prize winner, and so he presumably keeps track of who else wins just in case he runs into them at the Nobel reunion. I have not won a Nobel, but McDonald’s is restarting its Monopoly game, so I have some hope there.

Dear Mr. President,

So this is going to be like a modified version of that scene from The Graduate.

Mr. Foreman “I want to say one word to you. Just one word.”
Mr. Obama: “Yes, Tom, go ahead.”
Mr. Foreman: “Are you listening?”
Mr. Obama: “Sure.”
Mr. Foreman: “Really listening?”
Mr. Obama: “Jeesh, it’s easier talking to Republicans. Yes!”
Mr. Foreman: “Graphene.”

Ha! Just fooling around, but I’m not joking about how excited I am about this Nobel prize for the two guys who won for their experiments with this stuff. I had never heard of graphene until I read some articles today, but in my admittedly limited grasp of things scientific I can’t help but feel like this is a very big deal.

“Graphene?” you may say, “What in the name of Joe Biden is that?”

It is a two-dimensional substance (yes, I said two dimensional…like certain supermodels) that could change the way we view our world (again, like certain supermodels). My understanding is that it could lead to much faster, cleaner, dynamic energy systems; faster, smaller computers and communication devices; and maybe even crisper French fries. To be honest, I have a hard time grasping precisely what it is good for, but the buzz from Science Land is that it really matters.

Related: Research into graphene wins Nobel Prize

What makes me happiest is that it is a real thing. I love ideas, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes I get tired of so many people getting all worked up over concepts, strategies, and plans like they do here in DC. It makes me feel good to think that somewhere on the planet people are busy creating things that we can touch and use.

Despite what so many people seem to say about a “smart” economy loaded with service jobs and high finance, I still believe in the power of actual products - things we make and use. And while graphene was not invented here (actually, it was not so much invented, as discovered) I hope this latest Nobel encourages scientists and industry in this country to refocus their efforts on its possibilities, because that it where new income, new jobs, and a lot of economic hopes lie in our 3-D world.


Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

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