Biography:Peter Grünberg

From HandWiki
Short description: German physicist
Peter Grünberg
Peter Gruenberg 01.jpg
Grünberg in 2009
Peter Andreas Grünberg

(1939-05-18)18 May 1939
Pilsen, Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia
Died7 April 2018(2018-04-07) (aged 78)
Jülich, Germany
Alma materTechnische Universität Darmstadt
Known forGiant magnetoresistive effect
AwardsInternational Prize for New Materials (1994)
International Union of Pure and Applied Physics Magnetism Award (1994)
German Future Prize (1998)
Stern-Gerlach Medal (2006)
European Inventor of the Year (2006)
Wolf Prize in Physics (2006)
Japan Prize (2007)
Nobel Prize in Physics (2007) Friendship Award (China) 2016
Scientific career
InstitutionsCarleton University
Forschungszentrum Jülich
University of Cologne
Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST)
Tohoku University
Argonne National Laboratories
Doctoral advisorStefan Hüfner

Peter Andreas Grünberg (German pronunciation: [ˈpeːtɐ ˈɡʁyːnbɛʁk] (About this soundlisten); 18 May 1939 – 7 April 2018[1][2][3]) was a German physicist, and Nobel Prize in Physics laureate for his discovery with Albert Fert of giant magnetoresistance which brought about a breakthrough in gigabyte hard disk drives.[4]

Life and career

Grünberg was born in Pilsen, Bohemia—which at the time was in the German-occupied Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (now the Czech Republic)—to the Sudeten German[5] family of Anna and Feodor A. Grünberg[6] which first lived in Dysina[7][8] (Dýšina) to the east of Pilsen. Grünberg was a Catholic.[9]

After the war, the family was interned; the parents were brought to a camp. His father, a Russia-born engineer who since 1928 had worked for Škoda, died on 27 November 1945 in Czech imprisonment and is buried in a mass grave in Pilsen which is also inscribed with Grünberg Theodor † 27. November 1945.[10] His mother Anna (who died in 2002 aged 100)[11] had to work in agriculture and stayed with her parents in the Petermann[12] house in Untersekerschan[13] (Dolní Sekyřany), where her children (Peter's sister was born in 1937) were brought later. The remaining Grünberg family, like almost all Germans, was expelled from Czechoslovakia in 1946. Seven-year-old Peter came to Lauterbach, Hesse where he attended gymnasium.[14]

Grünberg received his intermediate diploma in 1962 from the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt. He then attended the Technische Universität Darmstadt, where he received his BSc diploma in physics in 1966 and his Ph.D. in 1969. While there, he met and married his wife, Helma Prauser, who became a schoolteacher.[15] From 1969 to 1972, he did postdoctoral work at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.[16] He later joined the Institute for Solid State Physics at Forschungszentrum Jülich, Jülich, Germany, where he became a leading researcher in the field of thin film and multilayer magnetism until his retirement in 2004.[14]

In 1984–1985 he served as visiting scientist at Argonne National Laboratories, Lemont, Illinois, USA. From 1984 to 1992 he had Habilitation process and was a lecturer (Junior Professor), and since 1992 till 2004 a Tenured Professor (ausserplanmässiger Professor) at the University of Cologne, Germany. He was also a visiting professor at the Tohoku University at Sendai-shi, Miyagi-ken, Japan from 1998 till 2004.

In 2007, Grünberg was awarded Honorary Doctorate from the RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany, in 2008 Honorary Doctorate from the Saarland University, and from Gebze Institute of Technology, and in 2009 from the University of Athens.[16]

Important work

In 1986 he discovered the antiparallel exchange coupling between ferromagnetic layers separated by a thin non-ferromagnetic layer, and in 1988 he discovered the giant magnetoresistive effect (GMR).[17] GMR was simultaneously and independently discovered by Albert Fert from the Université de Paris Sud. It has been used extensively in read heads of modern hard drives. Another application of the GMR effect is non-volatile, magnetic random access memory.

Apart from the Nobel Prize, work also has been rewarded with shared prizes in the APS International Prize for New Materials, the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics Magnetism Award, the Hewlett-Packard Europhysics Prize, the Wolf Prize in Physics and the 2007 Japan Prize. He won the German Future Prize for Technology and Innovation in 1998 and was named European Inventor of the Year[18] in the category "Universities and research institutions" by the European Patent Office and European Commission in 2006.

Honors and awards

Selected publications

Peter Grünberg playing guitar during his speech.


  1. "Forschungszentrum Jülich – GMR – Curriculum Vitae Peter A. Grünberg". 
  2. "Noted German physicist Peter Grünberg dies | DW" (in en). 2018-04-09. 
  3. Peter Grünberg RIP
  4. "The Nobel Prize in Physics 2007". The Nobel Foundation. 
  5. 1939 wurde ich im damals von Hitler annektierten Pilsen, heute Tschechien, als Sudetendeutscher geboren. Gleich nach Kriegsende, mit dem Einmarsch der Alliierten-Truppen, wurden alle Deutschen, so auch meine Familie, interniert. Meine Eltern kamen in ein Lager: Mein Vater Feodor ist im Lager geblieben, meine Mutter Anna dann zur Feldarbeit in das Dorf meiner Großeltern gekommen. Wir Kinder sind anfangs zu meiner tschechischen Tante gebracht worden, später zu meiner Mutter. 1946 bin ich nach Lauterbach in Hessen ausgesiedelt und dort eingeschult worden. Meinen Vater habe ich nicht mehr gesehen, er ist im Internierungslager gestorben. — interview at "Glauben Sie an Gott?". 
  6. Curriculum Vitae Peter A. Grünberg — Peter Andreas Grünberg, born on 18 May 1939 in Pilsen (now Czech Republic), parents: Dipl.-Ing. Feodor A. Grünberg and Anna Grünberg. CVV at
  7. "Heimatkreis Mies-Pilsen e. V". 
  8. Sudetendeutsche Landsmannschaft, „Kreisgruppe Hochtaunus“,20.11.2007 [1]
  9. Glauben Sie, Professor Grünberg, als Naturwissenschaftler an Gott? — Peter Grünberg: Ja, natürlich. Ich bin streng katholisch aufgewachsen und denke, einiges dabei gewonnen zu haben. Aber ich halte es mit Lessings Ringparabel. Welcher der drei Ringe ist der echte? – Grünberg states he believes in God, was raised strictly Catholic, and adheres to Lessing's Ring Parable in an interview with Gerhard Ertl and Peter Grünberg at
  10. Grünberg Theodor † 27. November 1945,
  11. "Nobelpreisträger Grünberg aus Pilsen". 
  12. Photo 2,
  13. Photo 1,
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Curriculum Vitae". Forschungszentrum Jülich. 
  15. Overbye, Dennis (13 April 2018). "Peter Grünberg, 78, Winner of an 'iPod Nobel,' Is Dead". The New York Times: p. A25. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 "Grünberg, Peter, 1939–". 
  17. G. Binasch; P. Grünberg; F. Saurenbach; W. Zinn (1989). "Enhanced magnetoresistance in layered magnetic structures with antiferromagnetic interlayer exchange". Phys. Rev. B 39 (7): 4828–4830. doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.39.4828. PMID 9948867. Bibcode1989PhRvB..39.4828B. 
  18. "European Inventor of the Year 2006 in the category Universities and research institutions: Peter Grünberg (Jülich Research Centre, Germany)". 2006. 

External links