A number of readers made sure we are aware that the 2007 Nobel Prize in physics
has been awarded to Albert Fert and Peter Grunberg
for simultaneously and independently discovering giant magnetoresistance
. This property has allowed the explosion of disk-space growth and is cited as being one of the first nanotechnology breakthroughs. From the announcement: "Very weak magnetic changes give rise to major differences in electrical resistance in a GMR system. A system of this kind is the perfect tool for reading data from hard disks when information registered magnetically has to be converted to electric current."