The Nobel prize in physics was announced and goes to Albert Fert and Peter Grünberg. In 1988 they discovered a new physical phenomenon now called Giant Magnetoresistance. Sounds like a fine achievement for a Nobel prize and I have no doubt that it was well deserved.
I do wonder about the copy writers at nobelprize.org. The press release for the award disappoints me in their focus on the application of the work. Here is the first sentence of the release:
“This year’s physics prize is awarded for the technology that is used to read data on hard disks.”
They go on to describe how this is really cool for your sleek new music player (adjectives are mine).
I’m all for informing the public about where they get all their cool toys, but I think it’s just as important to take the opportunity to tell something about science. Almost up until this work was done, it wasn’t thought to be possible! How cool must the story be of how this science was thought up and carried out.
Below the press release, there is a link to information for the public which does contain more depth about the science being done. It does, however, start with and hit hard the application of smaller pocket gadgets.