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Albert Fert

AKA Albert Louis François Fert

Born: 7-Mar-1938
Birthplace: Carcassonne, France

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Physicist

Nationality: France
Executive summary: Giant magnetoresistance

Military service: French military (1964-65)

French physicist Albert Fert discovered that thin layers of alternating metals react noticeably to even the most minute changes in magnetism, as a combination of magnetism and electron spin causes conductance in the stacks of magnetic layers the change. Called giant magnetoresistance (GMR), this is the principle that allows mind-bogglingly tiny particles to be used in data storage, generating the electrical signals that computers read. Advances in GMR have allowed hard disks to read and write much more data, leading to cheaper and more reliable computers, mp3 players, and countless further high-tech applications.

Fert won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2007, sharing the honor and cash stipend (about US$1.5 million) with German physicist Peter Grünberg, who conducted similar research concurrently but independently. Fert's subsequent work has involved condensed matter physics, magnetic nanostructures, and spin electronics. His father was also a physicist, as is his brother.

Father: Charles Fert (physicist)
Mother: Irmine Signoles Fert (teacher)
Brother: André Fert (physicist)
Wife: Marie Josée Ortega (m. 1967, two children)

    High School: Pierre de Fermat High School, Toulouse, France (1957)
    University: BS Mathematics, École Normale Supérieure (1962)
    University: MS Physics, University of Paris (1963)
    University: PhD Physics, Université Paris-Sud (1970)
    Teacher: Physics, University of Grenoble (1962-64)
    Teacher: Physics, Université Paris-Sud (1964-76)
    Professor: Physics, Université Paris-Sud (1976-)
    Administrator: Scientific Director, CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research) Thales Joint Physics Unit (1985-)

    Wolf Prize in Physics 2006 (with Peter Grünberg)
    Nobel Prize for Physics 2007 (with Peter Grünberg)
    Japan Prize 2007
    French Academy of Sciences 2004

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