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Physicist John Pendry talks about the profound physics obscured by his invisibility cloak and how metamaterials could help realise the perfect lens

Invisibility cloaks can guide light around objects as if they weren't there. It is awe-inspiring physics. So why the frustration?

It's when I give talks, particularly popular ones. Of all the things I am interested in, I am always asked about invisibility cloaks. I think, "Oh god, not another invisibility cloak lecture." I still enjoy giving them, but there are many other things I'm working on that are more profound; they just don't have that fertile soil which J. K. Rowling prepared for us.

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