Like I don’t lose enough of them already

Invisible paper clips! How do they work?

In the past, researchers have only been able to “cloak” microscopic objects using extremely complicated physics and so-called meta-materials made on a tiny scale.

But a new study at the University of Birmingham in the UK has taken a major step forward by making a paper clip invisible — an object thousands of times bigger than in previous experiments.

The research works by using a naturally forming crystal called calcite which has extraordinary light-bending abilities.

What’s not entirely clear to me, so to speak, is whether you have to have a crystal exactly the right size at exactly the right angle. The laws of physics will take some bending, but breaking them, I suspect, will require some serious quantum activity. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

(Technically not crossposted from here.)


  1. fillyjonk »

    4 February 2011 · 11:19 am

    The next step is invisible essays, which my students will hand in. Right now they are handing them in with invisible staples, apparently.

  2. CGHill »

    4 February 2011 · 11:24 am

    On the other hand, if you can’t see the papers, you can’t mark them down for crappy design.

  3. fillyjonk »

    4 February 2011 · 11:57 am

    Well, yeah, and it makes giving a zero a lot easier if you can’t actually see the thing. I mean, how would I know it was not plagiarized?

  4. fillyjonk »

    4 February 2011 · 11:57 am

    “The Emperor’s New Paperclips”?

  5. McGehee »

    4 February 2011 · 1:18 pm

    …how would I know it was not plagiarized?

    From John Cage!

  6. Tatyana »

    4 February 2011 · 7:03 pm

    I would have appreciate this “invisibility” cloak when using paper clips at my last job; the Partner #2(and, simultaneously, Spouse of Partner#1) declared usage of paper clips “wasteful” and was on a constant lookout and reprimand mode for any employee clipping samples of plastic laminate, carpet and paint with it.
    Needless to say, usage of binder clips was considered downright criminal.

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