Talk to illuminate 2007 Nobel Prize in Physics

Published 24 July 2008

nobelmedal.jpgA public talk at the University of New England next week will explain – in layman’s terms – the discovery that has revolutionised hard-disk technology and that won the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physics for two European scientists.

In 1988 the Frenchman Albert Fert and the German Peter Grünberg each independently discovered a new physical effect – Giant Magnetoresistance (GMR). The use of the GMR effect in the manufacture of laptop computers and portable music players, allowing information to be packed more densely onto the hard disk, is one of the first real applications in the new field of nanotechnology.

Dr Phil Dooley, a science communicator from the School of Physics at the University of Sydney, will talk on “Giant Magnetoresistance: the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physics” next Monday, July the 28th, at 6 pm in UNE’s Biological Sciences Lecture Theatre. The free talk will be part of the University of Sydney’s “Kickstart” program, which is visiting UNE for the third successive year.

The “Kickstart” program, aimed primarily at Higher School Certificate Physics students, is visiting Wagga Wagga, Dubbo and Armidale this month, and will be at UNE on Monday the 28th and Tuesday the 29th of July. Each day there will be workshops addressing aspects of the HSC Physics syllabus and lunchtime lectures on relativity. There will also be a workshop for teachers, titled “New Horizons”, allowing them to encounter cutting-edge physics research through sessions concentrating on practical demonstrations.

The program will include a presentation for primary school students (and parents), titled “The great physics air show”. Designed “for all kids – aged 9 to 109”, this free presentation will be in Lecture Theatre 1 in UNE’s McClymont Building on Monday 28 July at 4.15 pm.

For more information on the “Kickstart” program, or to reserve a place for the free public talk or “The great physics air show”, e-mail: outreach@physics.usyd.edu.au or phone (02) 9351 3383. For more information on the UNE venue, phone Ron Bradbury on (02) 6773 2643.