David R. Smith

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David R. Smith is a renowned American physicist and professor of electrical and computer engineering at Duke University in North Carolina. Smith's research focuses on electromagnetic metamaterials, or materials with a negative index of refraction. As a graduate student at the University of California San Diego Smith and his colleagues, working in the laboratory of Professor Sheldon Schultz, discovered the first material that exhibited a negative index of refraction.[1][2] Smith, along with four European researchers, for research in mematerials, was awarded the Descartes Prize in 2005, the European Union's top prize for collaborative research.[3] He is known also as the first person to create a functioning cloak of invisibility that renders an object invisible in microwave wavelengths.[4][5][6] Although the cloaking device had limited ability to conceal an object from light of a single microwave wavelength, the experiment was an initial demonstration of the potential of metamaterials, constructed composite materials with unusual optical properties, to behave in unique ways because of both their chemical and structural properties.[5]

Smith obtained a Ph.D. in physics from the University of California San Diego in 1994. In 2009 Reuters news service listed Smith as a potential Nobel laureate in physics.[1]


  1. ^ Shelby, R. A.; Smith, D. R.; Schultz, S. (2001), "Experimental verification of a negative index of refraction", Science 292: 77–79, Bibcode:2001Sci...292...77S, doi:10.1126/science.1058847, JSTOR 3082888, PMID 11292865 
  2. ^ Pendry, John B. (2004). "Negative Refraction". Contemporary Physics 45 (3): 191–202. Bibcode:2004ConPh..45..191P. doi:10.1080/00107510410001667434. Retrieved 2009-08-26. 
  3. ^ "David R. Smith Shares Descartes Award for Material that Reverses Lights Properties". 2 December 2005. Retrieved 16 October 2009. 
  4. ^ Hapgood, Fred (2009-03-10). "Metamaterial Revolution: The New Science of Making Anything Disappear". Retrieved 2009-10-10. 
  5. ^ a b Silverman, Jacob, HowStuffWorks: Is it possible to make a cloaking device?, retrieved 2009-10-16 
  6. ^ "Theoretical Blueprint For Invisibility Cloak Reported". 25 May 2006. Retrieved 16 October 2009.