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First We Go To Mars, Then We Disappear?

  • May 19th, 2007
  • Posted by 7thmin

april-may-valence-009.jpgFrench physicists at Marseilles have been working towards making artificial matter which is invisible.

The plan is to develop “metamaterials” that will exist in the light spectrum outside the range of normal vision.

Such material is not seen in nature.

So far the work is theoretical with no practical outcomes immediately in sight, though it follows some experiments in England last year, that masked a small object in two dimensions only, with invisible moving materials.

The three French scientists’ work had not come into public view until they published it recently in the journal Optics Letters, with extensive attention in the French press.

They admitted they could not see themselves developing a Harry Potter disappearing cape for some time, though JK Rowling’s children’s work had helped generate a lot of funding for invisibility projects.

It appears the invisible matter would be something to keep an eye on, as it would need to be unstable in composition and would be extremely difficult to maintain in a functional state.

The scientists told Le Monde that transferring the mathematics to real material would take less time than some people had foreseen, though they could not picture it happening until some time after astronauts were to be seen walking on Mars.

Reference: “Des physiciens sur le chemin de l’invisibilite” (Physicists on the road to invisibility), Le Monde, Paris, 18.5.07, p 1

Picture: What something invisible might look like?