Albert Fert and Peter Grünberg independently discovered a physical effect known as giant magnetoresistance, which gave the technology used to read data on hard disks a literal quantum leap toward today’s itty-bitty (technical term) computers like iPods. So yesterday these dudes got the “You just won the Nobel Prize for Physics” call (I always imagine this call being made by Bert Parks). And much speech-making ensued.
My favorite quote from the Nobel prize-related speeches yesterday was from Ben Murdin, Professor of Physics at the University of Surrey, who said: “A computer hard disk reader that uses a GMR sensor is equivalent to a jet flying at a speed of 30,000 kilometres per hour — roughly once round the globe in a single hour — 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.”
Not quite as fast as Superman that time he had to turn the Earth backwards to save Lois Lane, but still pretty darn fast.
Image by James Jordan on Flickr