Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.
Louis Eugène Félix Néel
Born: 22 November 1904, Lyon, France
Died: 17 November 2000, Brive-Corrèze, France
Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Grenoble, Grenoble, France
Prize motivation: "for fundamental work and discoveries concerning antiferromagnetism and ferrimagnetism which have led to important applications in solid state physics."
Prize share: 1/2
Magnetism takes different forms, some stemming from the magnetic moments of atoms of different materials. In ferromagnetic material the magnetic moments are oriented in the same direction. In 1932 Louis Néel described the antiferromagnetism phenomenon, where nearby magnetic moments in a material are oriented in opposite directions. In 1947 he also described the ferrimagnetism phenomenon, where the magnetic moments are aligned in opposite directions but of different magnitudes. The findings became an important factor in the development of computer memory and other applications.
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