Technology Academy Finland (TAF) has declared innovator Prof.Stuart Parkin as winner of the 2014 Millennium Technology Prize, the prominent award for technological innovation. Parkin’s innovations have led to a huge expansion of data acquisition and storage capacities, which in turn have underpinned the evolution of large data centres and cloud services, social networks, music and film distribution online. The prize is worth one million euros.
Prof. Parkin’s discoveries have enabled a thousand-fold increase in the storage capacity of magnetic disk drives. We can now stream movies, use social media and search information on the internet because all that information is stored in magnetic disk drives in the cloud.
The information is stored in disk drives, because it is a cost-efficient means of storing data thanks to the spintronic device. Parkin cites estimates that a month’s supply of disk drives could easily store all the information known since the beginning of mankind.
Basically all this information is available in the cloud due to this little spintronic device that allows us to read it. Our contemporary online world is largely possible because of these atomically-thin magnetic structures.
The winner, who follows in the footsteps of past winners such as World Wide Web creator Sir Tim Berners-Lee and ethical stem cell pioneer Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, will be honoured at a ceremony in Helsinki, Finland, on Wednesday 7 May 2014.
Further information about the Millennium Technology Prize and members of the International Selection Committee at: www.millenniumprize.fi/