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Nobel Laureate Peter Grünberg has Died

9 April 2018. Forschungszentrum Jülich is mourning the passing of Professor Peter Grünberg. The Nobel laureate in physics and scientist of Forschungszentrum Jülich passed away last week in Jülich at the age of 78. "The news of Peter Grünberg’s passing has filled all of us at Forschungszentrum Jülich with great sadness. Our thoughts are with his family. We have lost an outstanding scientist who set standards worldwide in the field of solid state research. It is no exaggeration to say that Peter Grünberg and his discovery of the giant magnetoresistance effect have dramatically changed all our lives. Without him, modern computers and smartphones as we know them today would be inconceivable. Peter Grünberg was not only an excellent researcher, but above all an esteemed and all-round popular colleague. He remained loyal to Jülich for more than 45 years and we will miss him greatly. Forschungszentrum Jülich will honour his memory, not least through the institute bearing his name – the Peter Grünberg Institute," said Professor Wolfgang Marquardt, Jülich’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, in a tribute to the Nobel laureate.

Peter Grünberg joined Forschungszentrum Jülich in 1972 as a research scientist at the former Institute of Solid State Research. In 1988, he discovered the giant magnetoresistance (GMR) effect, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2007 together with Frenchman Albert Fert. Their discovery of the GMR effect, which the two scientists discovered independently of each other, led to a breakthrough in modern information technology: the storage capacity of hard drives was increased significantly, enabling the miniaturization of storage media. Peter Grünberg had been honoured for this discovery with the German Federal President’s Future Prize in 1989 and the European Inventor Award in 2006. Additional awards include the Japan Prize of the Science and Technology Foundation of Japan (JSTF) and the Wolf Prize (both in 2007).

Prof. Peter GrünbergProf. Peter Grünberg
Copyright: Forschungszentrum Jülich

RWTH Aachen University as well as the universities of Bochum, Cologne, Saarbrücken, Athens, Sendai (Japan), and the Gebze Institute of Technology in Turkey presented Grünberg with honorary doctorates. In 2008, he became honorary citizen of the city of Jülich.

Since 2007, Grünberg also held the first ever Helmholtz professorship. He used the resources associated with this professorship to further pursue research in the field of spintronics with his Jülich working group. Furthermore, he held a multitude of lectures both in Germany and abroad, and supported the development of laboratories for spintronics research at universities in South Korea and in China.

Jülich’s blog portal features an electronic condolence book.

Prof. Peter Grünberg bekommt 2007 den Nobelpreis verliehenPeter Grünberg receiving the Nobel Prize in Stockholm in 2007.
Copyright: © The Nobel Foundation 2007 Photo: Hans Mehlin

Further information on the life and research of Peter Grünberg including picture galleries and a video (in German)
Nobel Prize for Magnetic Sandwiches (Archive, 2014)

Electronic condolence book

Press Contact:

Erhard Zeiss, Press Officer
Forschungszentrum Jülich
Tel.: +49 2461 61-1841