Albert Fert graduated from École Normale Supérieure in Paris, earned his Ph.D. at University of Paris in 1970 and became Professor of Physics at University Paris-Sud in 1976. He is Scientific Director of a joint laboratory of CNRS and company Thales, Emeritus Professor at University Paris-Sud and member of the French Academy of Sciences.
The experimental (and theoretical) research of Professor Fert is in condensed matter physics (electronic and magnetic properties of solids, spintronics). He was one of the co-discoverers of Giant Magnetoresistance in 1988, a phenomenon which is well known for its application to hard discs and the resulting large increase of their storage capacity.
This discovery has also triggered the development of the important research field which is called spintronics and sometimes defined as a new type of electronics harnessing the spin of the electrons. Professor Fert and his team have made significant contributions to the development of spintronics, in particular by works on the theory of spin transport (Valet-Fert model) and experiments on spin dependent tunneling, generation of microwaves by spin transfer, Spin Hall Effect, and spin transport in carbon nanotubes or graphene.
Professor Fert was awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of giant magnetoresistance (GMR) and his contribution to the development of spin electronics, or spintronics. GMR was in particular at the origin of high-performance magnetic read heads, which are today used in all hard drives.
Other Awards and Honors of Albert Fert
• International Prize for New Materials of the American Physical Society (1994)
• Magnetism Award of IUPAP (1994)
• Grand Prix de Physique Jean Ricard of the French Physical Society (1994)
• Europhysics Prize of the European Physical Society (1997)
• Gold Medal of the French National Scientific Research Center (CNRS) in 2003
• Wolf Prize (2007)
• Japan Prize (2007)
• Honoris Causa Doctorate of a dozen of universities