(Reuters) - Albert Fert and Peter Gruenberg won the 2007 Nobel Prize for physics for their work with nanotechnology, the Nobel Committee for Physics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said on Tuesday.
The prestigious 10 million Swedish crown ($1.54 million) prize recognized the pair’s work which has allowed the radical miniaturization of hard disks.
This was the second of this year’s crop of Nobel prizes.
Here are some details about the winners:
— Albert Fert was born in Carcassonne, France in March 1938. He was a graduate of the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris and a doctor in physical sciences.
— From 1970 to 1995, he led a research team at the Solid State Physics Laboratory (Laboratoire de Physique des Solides) at the Faculty of Sciences at Orsay. In 1995 he was one of the founders of the CNRS/Thales Joint Physics Unit.
— His research in the field of nanosciences, and especially the discovery of giant magnetic resistance, has already had a major impact on information and communications technologies.
— Since 1997, all hard disk drive read heads have used the giant magnetic resistance of magnetic multilayers in order to read the information recorded on magnetic discs. This has made it possible to multiply the amount of information stored on one disk a hundredfold.
— Peter Andreas Gruenberg was born in May 1939 in Pilsen, now the Czech Republic, and he studied physics at Darmstadt University of Technology where he got a PhD in 1969.
— Since 1972, he has been research scientist at the Institute of Solid State Research at Research Centre Juelich in Germany. In 2004 Gruenberg retired from the centre after 32 years, but has continued working.
— At the end of the 1980s, Gruenberg discovered that the electrical resistance of thin magnetic layers can be greatly changed through external magnetic fields.
— Fert and Gruenberg won the 2007 Japan Prize for the discovery of giant magnetic resistance and its contribution to the development of spin electronics.
Sources: Reuters/Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique/here