Nobel Laureate to speak at CSU

Julia Trowbridge

Nobel Prize Laureate Albert Fert, who won the prize for physics in 2007, is speaking at a public lecture on the Colorado State University campus on Monday, Nov. 13. 

The talk will take place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the LSC Ballroom. 

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“It’s not everyday people get to see a talk by a Nobel Prize Laureate,” said Kristen Buchanan, the Women in Physics advisor. “He’s a big deal. His contributions are really important and fundamental to physics.”

The physics department tried to get Fert to speak at Colorado State University previously, because of the physics department’s recognition of a magnetics program as a ‘Program for Research and Scholarly Excellence.’

“This is a really good opportunity for students,” Buchanan said. “Dr. Fert has an enormous research group in France that is right on the cutting edge of research.”

Any student looking to listen to a Nobel Laureate speak is encouraged to go to the public lecture, according to Buchanan. The public lecture is designed to make the science more accessible to a wide range of people.

Fert will also be giving a technical talk, geared towards undergraduates and graduates studying physics. In this lecture, Fert will be going more into the details of magnetic skyrmions, or nanoscale magnetic vortexes.

Fert won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2007 for the discovery of giant magnetoresistance effect, which is a large change in electricity flow, or resistance, in layered magnetic and non magnetic materials.

The giant magnetoresistance effect was simultaneously but independently discovered by Fert and Professor Peter Grünberg, who the Nobel Prize was also awarded to. Magnetoresistance, applying a magnetic field, normally has a very small effect on the resistance of the material, but giant magnetoresistance creates a resistance change that is orders of magnitudes larger.

The significance of this discovery was not only in its application of magnetic memory storage, but in the fundamental understanding of how this magnetic storage works and how orienting the magnetic moments in certain ways increases this effect.

Magnetic memory storage has widely changed technology today, as it is used in hard drives, which are found in most electronics like computers, and is also how information is stored on a cloud.

 

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Collegian reporter Julia Trowbridge can be reached at news@collegian.com or on twitter @chapin_jules.