University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Abigail and John Van Vleck Lectures

Biography of Albert Fert


Albert Fert graduated from the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. He received a Master's degree from the University of Paris in 1963. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Paris-Sud in 1970. He joined the University of Paris-Sud in 1976 where he is a Professor of Physics. Since 1985, Professor Fert has also been the scientific director of the National Center for Scientific Research Thales Joint Physics Unit.


Professor Fert's experimental (and theoretical) research is in condensed matter physics (metals, magnetism, magnetic nanostructures, spin electronics). Professor Fert was one of the co-discovers of Giant Magnetoresistance in 1988. He determined that alternating thin layers of magnetic and nonmagnetic metals respond to even minute changes in magnetic field. He has made many contributions to the development of spin electronics. He has published more than 270 scientific articles. One of the publications currently has 4030 citations and is in the "Top Ten" of the ten most cited articles in Physical Review Letters (PRL) since the creation of the letters journal in 1953.*

Nobel Prize

Albert Fert and Peter Grünberg were awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize for Physics for their independent co-discovery of Giant Magnetoresistance (GMR). GMR has been used in hard drives and magnetic sensors and handheld devices like MP3 digital audio players and Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs).

Other Awards and Honors

Professor Fert has received a number of other prestigious awards including the American Physics Society International Prize for New Materials (1994), the Grand Prix de Physique Jean Ricard of the French Physical Society (1994), the Hewlett-Packard Europhysics Prize (1997), the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Gold Medal (2003), the Wolf Prize in Physics (2006) and the Japan Prize (2007). He was elected to the French Academy of Sciences in 2004.


Albert Fert has been married to Marie Josée Ortega since 1967. They have two children.