Q&A with Peter Grünberg, October 2007

After the 2007 Nobel Prize announcements, visitors to Nobelprize.org had the possibility to submit questions to the 2007 Nobel Laureates. Here, Peter Grünberg answers a selection of the questions.

Question: Who, or what, inspired you to enter your field of achievement?
Bobby Cerini, age 34, Australia

Answer: Myself, and my desire to do something significant. To some extent it was also against the plan of my supervisor, but he was tolerant enough to finally accept my activities.

Question: In one word, can you describe your reaction when you knew you had been awarded the Nobel Prize?
Young eager student, age 13, United States

Answer: Well I knew that I had been traded as possible candidate years before. So the reaction was more like: “Ah, finally”.

Question: Has there ever been a time in your life and/or work when you have doubted what you were doing to the point that you seriously considered abandoning said work? Anna, age 16, United Kingdom

Answer: My research topics gradually changed all the time but I tried always to build upon knowledge that I had gained before. So for me it was very important to have continuity. I wanted to do good work which could be published in well-reputed journals. When I started my research I didn’t expect that finally there would be the Giant Magnetoresistance effect. It was only when we had found antiferromagnetic type coupling two years before the discovery of GMR that we thought this could be possible and installed the necessary equipment.

Question: First of all, congratulations! What will you do with the prize money? You have done something extraordinary to win the Nobel Prize – perhaps you deserve to spend it all on yourself!
Scott MacLeod, age 38, United States

Answer: Having been honoured so high on an international podium I see this Prize money as an obligation to be internationally available. The requests and demands are manifold. Believe me, it is not a comfortable life and often I have expenses which I pay for from my own pocket. So I see being a Laureate as a job which is paid adequately from the prize money.

Question: At any given time you obviously have several questions in your mind that you want to find answers for in your research. How do you choose which ones to pursue first and spend most of your efforts on?
Nurmukhammad Yusupov, age 30, Uzbekistan

Answer: Yes, indeed I have had other ideas that could have turned out to be of importance or even a breakthrough. Whenever I have such an idea I make a corresponding note on the last pages of my notebook. But my nature is to concentrate only on one thing at a time.  Of course, when you start to have doubts that your project will be successful you play with other ideas also, and then I consult my notebook. Before giving up one should carefully test out all possibilities, but also not fall into stubbornness.

To cite this section
MLA style: Q&A with Peter Grünberg, October 2007. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2022. Thu. 26 May 2022. <https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/physics/2007/grunberg/26259-peter-grunberg-interview-2007/>

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