The 2007 Nobel Prize for physics was awarded joinlty to French physicist Albert Fert (pictured left) and German physicist Peter Grünberg for their work in magnetoelectronics, also known as spintronics. The two each made independent discoveries of magnetoresistance back in the 80′s, which uses the spin of electrons to store and transport information instead of using an electrical charge. This discover allows more data to be stored in a smaller physical space and in under a couple decades led to radically smaller hard drives for common items such as laptop computers, smartphones and iPods.
Although not included as a recipient for the prize, many credit Stuart Parkin with IBM’s research labs in San Jose for using the technology and actually turning it into the practical applications we see today. The prize will be handed out to the pair by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on December 10 in Stockholm where Fert and Grünberg will also each be given half of the $1.5 million award.