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2008 - Bernard Barbara, Election of Blaise Pascal Medals and Gentner-Kaster GP

Bernard Barbara, Directeur of Research CNRS at Institut Néel, Grenoble, is an outstanding physicist who has applied himself to diverse branches of magnetism and has successfully explored a number of new ideas. During his thesis he established the link between very narrow domain walls and strong magnetic anisotropy. He went on to ascertain the competition between magnetic interactions and the Kondo effect in specific alloys and later determined the scaling laws driving phase transitions in spin glass. His more recent discovery of the tunnel reversal of the magnetic moment of Mn12 molecules impacts strongly on the development of molecular magnetism.

Following this discovery, B. Barbara explained how the magnetic moment reversal of isolated rare-earth ions obeys such quantum dynamics. His recent efforts focus on the magnetic resonance of the latter systems to highlight their potential to achieve a new variety of q-bits, the basic building blocks of quantum information and calculation.

Bernard Barbara has been honoured by three awards: “le prix Alexandre Joannidès de l’Académie des Sciences 2007” for “research useful for the public and worthy of support”, the Blaise Pascal medal, attributed by the European Academy of Sciences in recognition of his exceptional contribution to science and technology and the joint SFP-DPG Gentner-Kastler prize for “outstanding contributions to physics”. The latter is awarded to French and German physicists in alternate years.

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