New York University President John Sexton today bestowed an honorary doctorate on the physicist and Nobel laureate Albert Fert at NYU’s 177th Commencement Exercises in Yankee Stadium. Over 25,000 graduates, faculty, staff, and guests attended the morning ceremony.
The following citation was read in conferring the Doctor of Science degree, honoris causa, on Albert Fert:
“Albert Fert-renowned physicist, celebrated citizen of France-with a self- described passion for jazz, photography and film-you are a pioneer in the extraordinary explosion of knowledge in condensed matter physics. Professor of Physics at Université Paris-Sud, where you earned your Ph.D., you won the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physics for your discovery of Giant Magnetoresistance, which has transformed our basic theoretical understanding of electron transport in ferromagnetic solids and led to the creation of spintronics, a forefront area of research and development in applied quantum mechanics and materials science. Your stunning achievement, showing us how to exploit the spin of electrons to alter the magnetic and electrical response of certain materials, was the first step on the path of controlling an electrical current using this influence and leading to a breathtaking array of practical applications-from generating electrical signals that computers read to the fast rise in the density of stored information to the extension of hard disk technology to consumer electronics. A deeply generous and inspiring colleague, mentor, and teacher, you have been a frequent visitor to NYU, sharing our love for New York City and Greenwich Village, and for three decades have been closely associated and in fruitful collaboration with colleagues and students in our Department of Physics.
Albert Fert-through your masterful exploitation of the very essence of matter, yours has been an essential role in the noble effort of humankind to transmit and store more effectively the precious commodity of knowledge. By virtue of the authority vested in me by New York University, I am pleased to confer upon you the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa.”