Via several sources (Times Online, via HuffPost and AP, via Pharyngula), I see that there’s another pending high-profile release concerning ‘invisibility cloaks’. Though the physics behind them is accurate, the media is of course pushing rather hyperbolic headlines again: “Science close to unveiling invisible man.”
There isn’t enough information to determine for certain what has been done, as these were only ‘teaser’ releases and the technical reports won’t be out until later in the week. Times Online suggests that the important result is the experimental production of a cloak at visible light frequencies, while the AP mentions little of visible light and instead refers to the three-dimensional nature of the experimentally-produced cloak. Whether one or both advances were achieved is unclear, but either would be a major step and would have been achieved surprisingly fast. It is important to note, however, that in any case we’re not really that close to an invisible man! There’s a lot of practical and theoretical issues still to be solved, including the fact that it isn’t clear yet if or how it is possible to make a cloak which is invisible for all frequencies of visible light.
The work was done at UC Berkeley, and I’ll say more about it when the papers come out. In the meantime, later this week I’ll do a post on the original cloaking papers from 2006, which is the work that started the current ‘cloaking craze’.
P.S. Thanks to Mom & Dad, who I now see both sent me links to the story!