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Data Storage Science

2007 Physics Nobel Prize For Giant Magnetoresistance 111

Posted by kdawson
from the google-thanks-you-too dept.
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."
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2007 Physics Nobel Prize For Giant Magnetoresistance

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  • I first read the title as 2007 Physics Nobel Prize For Giant and thought "cool!"

    Onward ->

    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."

    Just as it seems we're about to move away from purely Mechanical Memory [slashdot.org] we find ways to make it better.

    • Just as it seems we're about to move away from purely Mechanical Memory we find ways to make it better.

      Just as? GMR was first discovered in 1988 and has already been used in modern HDDs. Chances are, you are using an HDD right now that has GMR-based technology in it.

      As far as moving away from 'purely mechanical memory' -- I think a lot of you guys and your "SSDs are going to change everything! Real soon now!(tm)" aren't thinking of the bigger picture. I think that magnetic HDDs will continue to dominate storage for at least another decade or more for one important reason: no one has figured out a way to

      • The way to make it supercheap is by selling it. Economies of scale will take over, and the price drop is likely to be precipitous, if history is any guide. I think a decade might be a little long, considering how much flash prices have dropped already.

        Of course, I know nothing. I'm just guessing.
        • by samkass (174571)
          This argument doesn't make sense to me, as flash chips are selling at much higher quantities than hard disks already. Flash MP3 players and embedded devices are everywhere, and the margins on flash manufacturing aren't that high. I suspect prices are being driven down as fast as technology is allowing them to, and that building more products based on them will only drive prices higher as supply outstrips demand.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by tlhIngan (30335)

            This argument doesn't make sense to me, as flash chips are selling at much higher quantities than hard disks already. Flash MP3 players and embedded devices are everywhere, and the margins on flash manufacturing aren't that high. I suspect prices are being driven down as fast as technology is allowing them to, and that building more products based on them will only drive prices higher as supply outstrips demand.

            Yes, right now there's a problem on the supply side. It turns out that Apple is one of the larges

            • by Foerstner (931398)
              If you think about it, Apple is really hard on suppliers - think of them as the Wal-Mart of the computer industry. If they can get a part cheaper, they'll bully their suppliers to get it. Thus, it's really in the supplier's interest to find better ways of making the chips cheaper. 8GB chips are already here, and 16GB ones are going to be commercially available shortly, but still, it's a tight market.

              The MP3 player industry, maybe. In the PC market, Apple doesn't have the buying power to squeeze its supplier
              • by tlhIngan (30335)

                The MP3 player industry, maybe. In the PC market, Apple doesn't have the buying power to squeeze its suppliers. When Apple demanded faster-cheaper PowerPCs from IBM threatening to take its then-2% market share elsewhere, Big Blue could barely stop laughing long enough to tell Steve Jobs to take a hike.

                Actually, while that is true, the reality is, Apple buys parts in huge quantities. Sure IBM could laugh them off, but think of their other customers as well - they have Microsoft, Sony/Toshiba and Nintendo as

              • And you thought they just invented things like technology!

                (I read that in the Secret Diary Of Sam Palmisano. Admittedly, it doesn't get a lot of traffic.)
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by flyingsquid (813711)
      Honestly, I don't see the practical implications. OK, great, giants can now resist Magneto. But how many mutants are also giants? I mean I guess Colossus is pretty large so maybe he would count, but basically the majority of the X-men are just as powerless against him as before.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kf6auf (719514)

      Just as it seems we're about to move away from purely Mechanical Memory [slashdot.org] we find ways to make it better.

      The development of spintronics allows many things, not just the hard drive read heads we've all had for the last 10 years. There are a couple of problems with flash, and if researchers can get the sizes down, these can be fixed with MRAM, magnetic memory based on spintronics again.

      Also, these are the applications we know about; as with any branch of physics, you have to give the physicists more than 20 years to figure out the physics, and then give the engineers some more time to explore what they can

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @01:40PM (#20915275)
    Personally I find Ian McKellan quite irresistible. (Sorry)
  • Pr0n (Score:3, Funny)

    by graviplana (1160181) on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @01:44PM (#20915347)
    "I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices of nerds suddenly cried out in joy..."
  • why they gave the prize for this. It is not like this is important to the rest of us in our daily lives in any meaningful way, is it?

    Makes you wonder how different today is from how it was envisioned 40 years ago. With 2TB of drive space in my house, things like this could help us move toward dreams like the Star Trek holodeck and other things that will require galactic size storage systems. I'm ready for it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)
      As you say, you really don't understand.

      The Nobel committee gives prizes not based on whether it benefits the average prole, but whether it advanced the knowledge of physics, chemistry and so on.

      BTW: it does benefit you, unless you don't use a sizeable hard drive. The huge hard drives that are available lately are because of this discovery.
      • by jpflip (670957)
        This has actually been a component of nearly every computer for many years. IBM apparently introduced the first commercial GMR-based hard drive in late 1997, a 16.8 Gigabyte model that at the time was among the largest commercially available. Pretty much any gigabyte-scale drive, and so essentially all drives available today, use GMR heads.
        • by Cigarra (652458)
          Exactly. From their account [ibm.com] of the story:

          Stuart Parkin and two groups of colleagues at IBM's Almaden Research Center, San Jose, Calif, quickly recognized its potential, both as an important new scientific discovery in magnetic materials and one that might be used in sensors even more sensitive than MR heads.
      • The Nobel committee gives prizes not based on whether it benefits the average prole, but whether it advanced the knowledge of physics, chemistry and so on.

        I agree with you on a 50%. See,
        Smaller storage => lesser energy consumption => more trees saved => benefits for all mankind.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by $RANDOMLUSER (804576)
      Probably because this discovery is considered the birth of spintronics. [wikipedia.org]
    • Right. You don't understand. If it wasn't for GMR, your hard drive would have a 500MB capacity or have 100 platters.
    • by zappepcs (820751)
      I am killing myself laughing.... \ I guess that tag thing gets removed when posting, even in text mode... there was supposed to be an end sarcasm tag at the end of My first comment... sigh
  • thanks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by trybywrench (584843) on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @01:47PM (#20915409)
    thanks for making TB class storage available to the average consumer. High storage capacity has helped the digital music/video revolution come along. Thousands and thousands of songs stored on an average PC wouldn't be possible without advances like this.
    • Thanks... maybe (Score:3, Insightful)

      by camperdave (969942)
      thanks for making TB class storage available to the average consumer.

      Yes... Pity it's still a shock sensitive, slow, electromechanical device rather than a high speed, rugged, solid state removable cartridge. Seriously, though, isn't it time we started moving away from mechanical storage?
      • Re:Thanks... maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

        by fm6 (162816) on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @02:57PM (#20916445) Homepage Journal
        We've been moving away from mechanical storage for 60 years, ever since the first real computer appeared. Things have gotten less and less mechanical ever since then. But it's a slow, incremental process. Old tech doesn't just disappear because somebody invented something kewler. The new tech has to make an economic case for itself. I'd love to replace my hard disks with something solid state. But it has to be affordable and reliable. The closest thing we have is flash RAM, and that's not practical for anything bigger than a couple of gigabytes. And even then, I wouldn't rely on it for mission-critical data.

        Technology and economics aside, a paradigm shift would be helpful. As the OLPC's XO demonstrates, you can easily build a useful computer that doesn't have a hard disk. It just won't run all the bloatware that we're all so dependent on. OLPC's second-biggest accomplishment might be to force everyone to rethink the way our overpowered computers are designed.
        • by imsabbel (611519)
          Shut up with your useless drivel.

          Of _course_ you can build a computer without a HD. You can even build a computer without any kind of flash AND hd. Just put something on a floppy, and boot from it.

          What uses space nowadays aint "bloatware", but the increase in media.

          Yeah, back in the days you could get a few seconds of sampled sound. Later you got pictures. Later you got videos. Then 3D-Scenes.

          Modern storage requirement isnt dictated by inefficient programming, but by the amount of media needed to be stored.
          • by fm6 (162816)
            Uh, do you have a point? I mean beyond, "You're an idiot and I have a headache." I think you need to unplug, unwind, and come back when you're sane.
    • by MtViewGuy (197597)
      Interesting you mention that because one thing cited on the Nobel Prize announcement was it made it possible to put high capacity storage on a small device. That was what made the original iPod possible in the first place and why the iPod classic now can store an amazing 160 GB of media data, more data storage capacity than most desktop machine hard drives of just even a few years ago! :-O
    • by Dr. Spork (142693)
      Yeah, seriously! I think that cheap, huge disks are the #1 reason that's driving a continued interest in filesharing. It's not that there's more bandwidth and interest. It's just that millions of people have giant file collections that they share, and ever more space to make them more giant. It not only increases demand, but also huge increases in the supply. That's all about cheap hard drives. I had a good friend fifteen years ago with hundreds of records - an incredible collection by standards of the day
    • RIAA lawsuit in 3.. 2.. 1..
  • oblig. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @01:50PM (#20915477) Homepage Journal
    Surely the prize for Magneto resistance should go to Professor Charles Xavier?
  • by thatseattleguy (897282) on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @02:11PM (#20915797) Homepage
    ...are set at $10M SEK (Swedish Kroner) - about $1.5M USD or $1.1M Euros, split between the winners equally. Not sure how this compares to previous years.

    So in the end, each scientist nets about $750K USD, unless I dropped a decimal point somewhere.

    /tsg/

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      The cash grant amounts associated with the Nobel Prizes have an interesting history- the foundation wasn't granted tax-exempt status until 1946, so for some of its early years, the tax assessment on the fund exceeded the total worth of that year's prizes. That, combined with orginally very conservative investment rules, caused the nominal value of the cash grants to stagnate, and the real value against inflation to plummet.

      After getting tax-exempt status and easing their investment rules, the fund began

  • Patent? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by grumpyman (849537) on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @02:21PM (#20915923)
    Did anybody patent this technology?
    • From the wikipedia article:

      GMR was independently discovered in 1988 in Fe/Cr/Fe trilayers by a research team led by Peter Grünberg of the Jülich Research Centre, who owns the patent
    • by Affenkopf (949241)
      Yes, Peter Grünberg one of the Nobel Price recipients did patent this technology.

      Grünberg, to this day a leading physicist at the Jülich Research Centre in Germany, saw his patent published in 1994.
      from the European Patent Office. [epo.org]
      • by grumpyman (849537)
        Is this technology being used in current drives? The reason I asked is because I wonder how this "patent" relates to the $100 500GB drives that we can buy these days.
        • by Ochu (877326)
          What do you mean, "patent"? Look, I know the copyleft movement, and most of Slashdot, are against software and business patents, and it is true that most of the world's patent offices really need tightening up. But that doesn't mean a patent can't be very real, and very deserved. These researchers laboured for years to crack this, and after they did, they managed to find a genuine practical application for a piece of groundbreaking new science. And you would deny them the right to get paid for it? To answer
          • by grumpyman (849537)
            You are really missing my point. I'm basically saying if it is patented and is it related to the dramatic increase in size of hard-drive and decrease in price, and that I'm getting a 500GB for $100 drive, that means it's all good.
    • by Deadstick (535032)
      Sit down, Darl.

      rj
    • by Tom Womack (8005)

      You can't patent the effect, but a USPTO search gives 77 patents on an assortment of devices (including one suggesting that you should sputter radon atoms into the disc surface - holy radioactive storage, Batman!) exploiting it, and US patent 6441661 (assigned to Fujitsu) looks as if it's on GMR magnetic sensors in general.

      Does anyone have tools for traversing the graph of patents under reference in both directions? Key patents would tend to show up at the top of lists sorted by number of citations, but I
  • by dario_moreno (263767) * on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @02:32PM (#20916095) Homepage Journal
    Just compare the achievements of those two geniuses with the recent discussion about the crackpots speculating about the metrics of the universe. Here we have a real, old-fashioned Nobel Prize : a simple and brilliant idea, an experimental demonstration, and practical applications, like in the 1900s were you had to demonstrate the effect in front of the Academy of Sciences in order to get the prize or even to get your paper published, look at the online lessons from the time (Lippman for instance). As a professor of physics I was on the commitee of a conference aimed at high school teachers about modern days physics. I suggested the teachers in charge invited Fert but they answered that they do not understand a single thing about spin and ironically enough they wanted conferences about string theory and particle physics instead : there is definitely something wrong with public outreach of science, astrophysicists and particle physicists having built PR machines on the scale of their accelerators, observatories and budgets, and grabbing a huge part of the grants, when, with the same budget than the CERN spent on condensed matter physics or (relatively) small budget experiments maybe we would have a thousand of discoveries like the one of Fert. I bet that in CERN maybe a physicist in a thousand, with an IQ over 200, sees the big picture and understands what the wotk is really about. Atomic, molecular or condensed state physics, fluid mechanics, soft matter physics, are much more tractable and practical with real challenges (high-TC supraconductivity...) Admiteddly the Web came out of CERN but still...
    • This is hardly two guys working in thier basements. These [wikipedia.org] guys [wikipedia.org] (the institutions the winners are from) are clearly not doing small budget science. But I do agree with you that too much "national capital equipment" science is done at the expense of more modest goals.
      • Don't believe that; it's really about scheduling on the hard drive.

        It's an algorithm to deal with competing requests. The german portion of the algorithm attempts to write everywhere immediately, while the french portion hides behind a bad sector and then surrenders . . . :)

        hawk
    • So quit whining and start your own PR machine to stimulate public interest in funding your area of research. Do you really need equipment as expensive as a particle accelerator to continue your research?
    • by mapkinase (958129)
      The research that you talking about in solid state is much closer to real science and technology (more scientific = closer to technology), that is why there are a lot of private money showering on it. On the contrary the science of 11th dimension will not be funded by any private researcher of the right mind unless he does not know that there is Ethiopia in Africa. That is why the PR campaign of "academic community" working so hard to get that money from the public.
    • by Ambitwistor (1041236) on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @03:21PM (#20916821)
      If you want to equate the importance of physics with technological applications, fine, but that's not the only reason to do physics. Learning about the fundamental building blocks of the universe has intellectual merit of its own, and face it, a lot of ordinary people are really interested what physicists learn about such things. You seem to be arguing that people shouldn't be interested in particle physics or whatever, just because condensed matter is more practical. That's a value judgement.

      By the way, it's a fallacy to think that if not for Big Particle Physics, condensed matter physics would be enormously more fruitful. If the money wasn't going to accelerators, that doesn't mean it would be going to condensed matter physicists instead; it might just go to biologists.

      And just dumping money on condensed matter doesn't guarantee breakthroughs. There are already far more condensed matter physicists than particle physicists; if you try to buy even more of them, you're necessarily going to start scraping the bottom of the talent barrel, and you get diminishing returns. Unless you're arguing that the money should go to existing condensed matter physicists without expanding the talent pool, to fund work that they currently can't afford to do. Well, I don't buy that either: the guys most likely to make breakthroughs are almost certainly already well funded.

      Disclosure: I did my PhD in condensed matter.
      • you are right, I am actually disgusted by the quest of absolute and religiosity by the 80-90% of humans who actually do not have a scientific mind. And particle physicists and especially cosmologists exploit that shamefully. How can you explain standard model to someone whose mind blocks on the concept of electron spin ? By cheating. I basically agree however with the rest of your post but remind persuaded that small is beautiful.
        • I am actually disgusted by the quest of absolute and religiosity by the 80-90% of humans who actually do not have a scientific mind.

          I don't know quite what you mean by that, but what does that have to do with particle vs. condensed matter physics?

          And particle physicists and especially cosmologists exploit that shamefully.

          ... what?

          Many non scientists are simply very interested in the fundamental building blocks of matter, the origins and fate of the universe, etc. This is not a failing, or an absence of a "scientific mind". It's not "exploitation" to teach people about things they're interested in.

          How can you explain standard model to someone whose mind blocks on the concept of electron spin ?

          It's not really harder to explain the basics of particle physics to such a person than it is to explain how gi

          • Could you read my whole comment before taking out the first sentence ?

            My point is that astrophysicists, cosmologists and the like exploit the desire of a non-scientific public for dreams and answers about nature.

            How can you honestly explain the standard model without explaining first quantum mechanics, second quantification and relativity ? And how can you do this without first explaining electromagnetism and classical mechanics ? And how can you this beyond (and including) Galileo's theories without eleme
            • Could you read my whole comment before taking out the first sentence ?

              I did. The first sentence made no sense to me. I replied to the rest.

              My point is that astrophysicists, cosmologists and the like exploit the desire of a non-scientific public for dreams and answers about nature.

              How is that "exploitation"? The public is interested in these things, so are the scientists, what is the problem?

              How can you honestly explain the standard model without explaining first quantum mechanics, second quantification and relativity ?

              You can get pretty far without explaining any of those things. You don't need any of that to understand that there are different types of particles, different types of interactions, and what some of their physical properties are. We're not talking about deriving the spin-statistics theorem here.

              For an approach that impli

              • "exploitation" in the sense that some people make a fortune selling books about it (Hawking, the Bogdanoff here in France) and in securing funding at the national and european level. When you brutally explain to people that there are different kind of particles, you are just doing what I said : taxonomy. About electricity and magnetism, people in general just understand Ohm's law in the best case, even induction is foreign to people without a scientific education, not speaking about the structure of elect
                • "exploitation" in the sense that some people make a fortune selling books about it

                  It's not exploitation to sell someone a book on the subject they're interested in. Geesh.

                  and in securing funding at the national and european level.

                  Again, boo hoo. They get funding for studying subjects that physicists and the lay public are interested in. This has nothing to do with "exploitation", it just has to do with the fact that you, personally, would rather see the money go elsewhere.

                  When you brutally explain to people that there are different kind of particles, you are just doing what I said : taxonomy.

                  Don't give me that Rutherford "stamp collecting" crap. There's nothing wrong with taxonomy. And you can introduce dynamics, not just taxonomy. You don't need to explai

                  • then please explain why science enrollment is going down and why we only see Asiatic, Indian or African good students anymore. The current remedy is to present pretty pictures of science to the youth, and it obviously does not work since it only appeals to the non-scientifically minded, the others smelling a rat in the material. Since Galileo and Descartes, physics is mathematized. All the concepts that you explain to the layman "on the conceptual level" without equations do not hold water from a scientifi
                    • then please explain why science enrollment is going down

                      I don't know why science enrollment is going down, but what you're saying is essentially, "My idea is right because I can't think of an alternative", which is an attitude unbecoming a scientist.

                      I think the "common view" which you dismissed is far more likely to be a valid factor than your proposal.

                      and it obviously does not work since it only appeals to the non-scientifically minded, the others smelling a rat in the material

                      That is not at all obvious. I would contend the exact opposite: popular science books inspire students to go into science who otherwise wouldn't.

                      The current remedy is to present pretty pictures of science to the youth, and it obviously does not work since it only appeals to the non-scientifically minded, the others smelling a rat in the material.

                      You seem to be under the impression that pop-science books hav

                    • I am just saying "maybe all the efforts done to fight the hatred of science are going in the exactly wrong direction". This is sociological and psychological, hardly scientific indeed.

                      I agree that by symmetry you can deduce the existence of the displacment current, but from that how do you deduce the existence of electromagnetic waves without writing down and solving Maxwell's equations ?

                      Qualitative and phenomenological physics indeed works to some extent (non-linearities, second order effects please ?), bu
                    • I am just saying "maybe all the efforts done to fight the hatred of science are going in the exactly wrong direction". This is sociological and psychological, hardly scientific indeed.

                      You are saying it, but you don't have any social or psychological EVIDENCE for it.

                      I agree that by symmetry you can deduce the existence of the displacment current, but from that how do you deduce the existence of electromagnetic waves without writing down and solving Maxwell's equations ?

                      You can't actually derive a linear wave equation without solving Maxwell's equations, but you can argue that if time-varying magnetic fields support electric fields and time-varying electric fields support magnetic fields, then there plausibly can be self-supporting wave solutions with the electric and magnetic fields continuously varying.

                      Qualitative and phenomenological physics indeed works to some extent (non-linearities,

                    • Wow, I totally screwed up the formatting on that last comment. Should have previewed.

                      I am just saying "maybe all the efforts done to fight the hatred of science are going in the exactly wrong direction". This is sociological and psychological, hardly scientific indeed.

                      You are saying it, but you don't have any social or psychological EVIDENCE for it.

                      I agree that by symmetry you can deduce the existence of the displacment current, but from that how do you deduce the existence of electromagnetic waves without writing down and solving Maxwell's equations ?

                      You can't actually derive a linear wave equation without solving Maxwell's equations, but you can argue that if time-varying magnetic fields support electric fields and time-varying electric fields support magnetic fields, then there plausibly can be self-supporting wave solutions with the electric and magnetic fields continuously varying.

                      Qualitative and phenomenological physics indeed works to some extent (non-linearities, second order effects please ?), but I find it a shame to go back to middle-ages like thinking and teaching.

      • by The Raven (30575)

        Well, I don't buy that either: the guys most likely to make breakthroughs are almost certainly already well funded.


        I think the cause/effect of that little transaction goes the opposite way you imply. :-)
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by rasputin465 (1032646)
      I bet that in CERN maybe a physicist in a thousand, with an IQ over 200, sees the big picture and understands what the wotk is really about.

      That's highly unlikely. If you are a prof. of physics, as you claim, then you know very well what it takes to obtain a Ph.D., and one of the most basic requirements is the ability to demonstrate a very complete understanding of the relevant field and the "big picture" as you put it. And that's just for the degree; there's no WAY someone could get a faculty appointmen
      • there is understanding and understanding. There is a difference in between aligning the correct buzzwords in approximately the correct order (as many string theorists do) and producing a grand unified theory of quantum gravitation and of the other forces -at nonzero temperature of course- , for which one should have the brains of the lovechild of Einstein, Newton, Poincaré and a good dozen of mathematicians. Besides you actually defend my point : much research in physics on scales varying between the
      • But I think the suggestion that particle physicists get to play with huge budgets simply because of better PR is unfounded. In general, condensed matter research simply doesn't require huge budgets.
        You are joking, right? You must be joking, I require it!
    • by bjorniac (836863)
      You're right. And that silly speed of light is the same in all reference frames, what a crazy idea. It'll never have a practical application right?

      In theoretical physics what we do is... theoretical. Get used to it. Oh, and conflating CERN and cosmology so much makes me seriously doubt your credentials. Most string theorists have a budget of their own salary plus a few grad students/post docs. CERN is largely examining the standard model (looking for a Higgs boson, for example) which is an incredibly well t
      • my original post made the following points : small is beautiful (hence my rant about CERN and astrophysicists, when ideas need $10bn to be tested maybe they can be postponed until a smaller experiment is designed) Experience is the judge (hence my rant against cosmologist and string theorists) Eistein was working on his spare time when he discovered relativity, and there were immediate and simple verifications. CERN does not work on quantum electrodynamics which was achieved by Schwinger, Tomonaga and F
        • by bjorniac (836863)
          I don't know what qualifies to you as immediate verifications - we still haven't seen gravitational waves, one of Einstein's predictions from GR - nearly a hundred years later, it's one of those big experiments you seem to hate going out to test it. Oh, and I'll be sure to tell all the folks on hep-th to stop looking at QED since it's solved.
    • by Tablizer (95088)
      I like to compare science choices to investments (stocks, bonds, derivatives, etc). They all have different risks and payoff profiles. It is possible that fundamental particle science may find a revolutionary breakthru that leads to worm-hole travel or anti-gravity engines. But the chance of that is relatively small compared to more practical research that you mention. But the practical stuff only produces incremental steps in knowledge. We may need the big breakthroughs for the quantum (sic) leaps in tech
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Eat your heart out, Europe! We rock!!!!
    • Just compare the achievements of those two geniuses with the recent discussion about the crackpots speculating about the metrics of the universe. Here we have a real, old-fashioned Nobel Prize : a simple and brilliant idea, an experimental demonstration, and practical applications,[...]

      Well, Einstein never got the Nobel prize for the general theory of relativity. Just think about it for a second: He did not get the Nobel prize for the general theory of relativity!

      I suggested the teachers in charge invited Fert but they answered that they do not understand a single thing about spin and ironically enough they wanted conferences about string theory and particle physics instead

      Irony is definitely thick: particle physicist would say that spin simply has to do with the irreducible representations of the Lorentz group of the special theory of relativity. Then they would keep on going about iso-spin, susy, confomal invariance, etc... It is not unheard of Dirac equation being also used in the area of

    • I agree that condensed matter doesn't get the PR that it deserves, which is the fault of condensed matter physicists. String Theory has so much press because people like Brian Greene and Kaku generated it. If you had people going out telling people how cool materials science can be, you could get the media's attention. But don't complain about funding, materials science gets much better funding than any other area of physics. Complaining about funding is wrong headed to the point where I would question
      • thank you for your support ; but on the one hand I do not complain about MY lack of funding (everyone nowadays assumes one is automatically egoistic and self concerned), because I am also a theoretician albeit a numerical one, so have small needs besides my own salary, access to parallel computers, a conference under the sun, and a postdoc/PHD from time to time, and on the other hand I work in France where the situation of science funding is rather different than in the US although slowly converging.
  • by rrohbeck (944847) on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @02:53PM (#20916395)
    The MPAA/RIAA must hate those guys.
    • by Ihlosi (895663)
      The MPAA/RIAA must hate those guys.



      Yes. First those pesky Germans invent MP3, and then they invent stuff to make hard drives even bigger. Guess which country will end up on the "supports terrorism and needs to be invaded (again)" list next.

  • Feeert, Albert. Na na na, gonna have a good time. Hey hey hi...
  • Interesting analogy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Vainglorious Coward (267452) on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @03:23PM (#20916869) Journal

    The BBC coverage of this story [bbc.co.uk] has a nice analogy :

    equivalent to a jet flying at a speed of 30,000 kmph, at a height of just one metre above the ground, and yet being able to see and catalogue every single blade of grass it passes over
  • From American Scientist Magazine, May/June 2002. It's a few years old but the best article I've read to date on hard drive technology. It recaps the phenomenal advances of hard drive technology over the years and then asks the question: "When the terabyte drives come out, will we have enough data to store on them?" (At the rate I aggregate data, I would give an emphatic "Yes!") http://www.americanscientist.org/content/AMSCI/AMSCI/ArticleAltFormat/2003423135512_546.pdf [americanscientist.org]
  • In an interview on French radio "France Info", the 2007 Physics Nobel Prize co-winner Albert Fert replied to this question :

    - Do you like computers ? (his works has big implication in computer hardware)

    He replied
    - I just use them, I can't say I like it. I have a new one with Windows Vista, and a don't understand everything, I need to adapt.

    !!!
    • by fbjon (692006)
      Nothing new there: nobody understands Vista.


      The Vista source code will probably get the 2007 literature Nobel prize, "for its narrative mastery, which with great sensibility expresses the failures of mankind."

  • by patfla (967983)
    These were the guys who discovered the effect. And I suppose they deserve Nobel prizes of it.

    But it was IBM's Almaden Research Lab - and a lot of blood, sweat, toil and materials science - that turned GMR into a commercial reality.

    And then, some yrs later, IBM turned around and sold its whole disk drive division to Hitachi.

    But I imagine they did so with something more than a gleam in their eye. And I doubt that gleam was flash memory.

    Disk drives have become another brutal low/no margin business. In fact
  • Giant magnetoresistance = Superconducting cryogenically-cooled defensive shield erected by giant pandas - designed to scramble our cell phones and credit cards, and to prevent us from encroaching on their habitat
  • Wikipedia explains GMR but if you are keen to know about the effects of GMR on storage devices, you can refer to an article [ibm.com] by IBM Research. There's even an animation [ibm.com] on MR and GMR in action in storage devices.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Hey,

    Can you say MIMHDD Mobius Inverting Magnetic Hyperdynamic Drive?

Stinginess with privileges is kindness in disguise. -- Guide to VAX/VMS Security, Sep. 1984

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