Albert Fert’s speech at the Nobel Banquet, 10 December 2007
Copyright © Nobel Media AB 2007
Photo: Hans Mehlin
Your Majesties, your Royal Highnesses, ladies and gentlemen, it is a great honour for Peter Grünberg and me to accept the Nobel Prize. We express our gratitude to the Royal Academy of Sciences and the Nobel Foundation. We want also to acknowledge the outstanding contributions to our work of many brilliant coworkers. I thank my coworkers, especially and directly those who are at this banquet today, I thank also my first guides in physics, my father, who was a physicist, a very acute physicist, Jacques Friedel and Ian Campbell, my guides at the time of my PhD, and, last but not least, I thank the partner for everything in my life, Marie-Josée, my wife.
I want also to tell you how another person, from Sweden, played certainly an important role for my orientation. When I was at the university, I liked physics, but I liked the arts too, I was a good photographer, I liked cinema, I wrote and I shot a film. My main inspiration was Ingmar Bergman, my god was Bergman. I remember trying to express the feelings I wanted to express by black and white close-up and slow panning shots, inspired by the first films of Bergman, Sommarlek, Sommaren med Monika, Smultronstället. But, when I saw my film, it was not at all expressing what I wanted to express, and I realized that, unfortunately, I was at light years from what I had seen in Bergman’s films. But I could remember that I had some skills in physics, I began a PhD and I found that the research can be a very creative work too. The discovery of new and beautiful landscapes in the field of knowledge was also fascinating, and this led me to be here today, partly thanks to the inaccessibility of the genius of Ingmar Bergman.
On my way, I have discovered the beauty of sciences. It is amazing for a researcher to see the product of his ideas, of purely abstract constructions with electrons and spins, becoming a concrete reality of the everyday life. For Peter and me, it is amazing to realize that some of our ideas have led to applications we use everyday in our computer, something which is also useful to many people. Of course we have not been alone in this adventure. Spintronics has become a fruitful field of research thanks to the contributions of a very active international community and we are very pleased to acknowledge this collective contribution to the work which is recognized today.
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