Stuart Parkin, an IBM fellow and director of the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics has won the €1 million 2014 Millennium Technology Prize. Parkin's major achievement was the application of giant magnetoresistance (GMR) to create extremely sensitive devices that can detect tiny magnetic fields. This enabled a huge expansion in hard disk data capacity.
The award committee said that the award was given for his "pioneering contribution to the science and application of spintronic materials and his work leading to a prodigious growth in the capacity to store digital information".
The first Millennium Technology Prize was awarded in 2004 and is a bi-annual award. It is awarded by the Technology Academy Finland and backed by the Finnish state.