Sunday, 13 March 2011

The Joy of a Breakthrough (a real one)

This video's a great example of what I hope to achieve with science films.

The main part was filmed about six months ago when Professor Philip Moriarty and his colleagues were experimenting with "atomic switches".

They'd just made a breakthrough "toggling" silicon atoms.

I went along and filmed when the work was still in progress and all the equipment was active.

But the video had to remain secret until the work was written up and submitted for peer review.

With the paper now peer-reviewed and about to be published, all can be revealed.

We did a shorter five-minute version for Sixty Symbols, and a longer 15-minute version (below) for Test Tube.

For me, this is showing what science is really like...

What it really looks like in the lab... how they really feel about it.... what they really do.

And it also contains some discussion about what really happens next as papers are published.

Encouragingly, viewers have posted some great comments in response to the videos.

They seem to really want this type of in-depth and honest explanation.

Among many, this is my favourite comment so far: "You at the University of Nottingham have amounted a truly fantastic body of work on youtube, revolutionising the way science is brought to the masses in such an inspirational way. As an undergraduate electronic engineer, these glimpses of real physics in action are the motivation I crave. Before videos like this there was no way to see how science happens with the same accessibility level. I wish the whole science community made the effort to be as transparent and easy to comprehend as you guys."


  1. love the youtube comment about archimedes' eureka and moriarty's 'expletive' ಠ_ಠ

  2. In the near future, maybe 15 o 20 years, i stare my computer N Petabytes SIMM memory based on flipping atoms and i will remember one day in march 2011 when i saw the men who made it REAL!
    Congratulations for your work, and for made us part of it.
    (And PEASE we do need subtitles!!!! ;o)

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