father of spintronics

Lord Kelvin: The Father of Spintronics

Today marks 107 years since the death of William ‘Lord Kelvin’ Thomson. A revolutionary in many fields, he is famous in spintronics for his discovery of Anisotropic Magnetoresistance (AMR).

A relatively minor contribution at the time, AMR and related phenomena went on to help magnetic storage become the second pillar of computing along with semiconductors. Hard drives may be getting long in the tooth, but AMR-like phenomena still live on in the next generation of computer memory – MRAM.

Unfortunately the magnitude of William Thomson’s AMR contribution had not yet been appreciated at the time of writing, so is omitted from this article from New Scientist, 1957.

The New Scientist, 12 Dec. 1957

 Further Reading

AMR in ferromagnetic 3d alloys

Nobel Prize in Physics for Giant Magnetoresistance