Sir John Pendry, pioneer of the 'invisibility cloak', wins top Institute of Physics honour

The physicist first published the idea for an "invisibility cloak" in 2006

A British physicist who has pioneered the development of a new class of metamaterials and proposed the idea of an "invisibility cloak" has won the top honour at the UK's Institute of Physics (IoP) awards.

Professor Sir John Pendry, who first published the idea for an "invisibility cloak" in 2006, was honoured for his work on metamaterials and his "seminal contributions to surface science, disordered systems and photonics".

In a citation for the award the IoP commended Sir John Pendry's work on low energy diffraction and the theory of surfaces but said that it was his work on a "cloak of invisibility" that had "the greatest impact scientifically and certainly on the public imagination".

It goes on to state that the new class of materials "expand massively the material parameters available throughout the electromagnetic spectrum", and notes that the invention of the cloak has attracted worldwide public interest.

The properties of metamaterials, which are not defined by their chemical constitution but rather by their internal structure on the smallest scale, allow them to be used to guide light around objects - thus rendering them invisible to the eye.

The metamaterials can be designed specifically to induce a change in the direction of electromagnetic waves by altering the nano-scale structure of the metamaterial rather than its chemistry. Covering an object in such a material means light waves flow around the object.

Professor Pendry told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: “The point of the cloak was a grand challenge to tell the world 'if we can do that, we can do anything.'

“The whole point of the exercise is we have exquisite control over light and radiation generally.”

Researchers in Britain and the US have long been working on creating a so-called cloaking device.

The concept, a long-time staple of science fiction films, and more recently the Harry Potter series, is thought to have a wide number of applications - and could be used in military stealth technology.

Professor Pendry explained in 2006: "What you're trying to do is guide light around an object, but the art is to bend it such that it leaves the object in precisely the same way that it initially hits it.

"You have the illusion that there is nothing there."

Prof Sir Peter Knight, president of the IoP, told BBC News: "My personal view is that what John Pendry has done with his work on metamaterials, on perfect lensing, on cloaking - that work is the most exciting that I've seen in optics in a generation."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
News
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
News
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
fashion
News
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

English Teacher

£85 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunity for Secondary ...

English Teacher

£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Group: [ Megan Smith 22/09/2014 17:00:...

Foundation and KS1 Teacher

£100 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Foundation and Key Stage 1...

Geography Teacher

£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Group: Temporary Teacher of GEOGRAPHY ...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments