Feeds

Father of LCD dies at 74

Tribute to the 'modern day Isaac Newton'

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Obituary French Nobel laureate Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, a pioneer of the liquid crystal display (LCD), died last week at the age of 74.

De Gennes, dubbed the Isaac Newton of our time, won the 1991 Nobel Prize for Physics for his groundbreaking work in liquid crystals and polymers. After graduating from the Ecole Normale Superieure, he worked on neutron scattering and magnetism before moving to supraconductors and liquid crystals.

The work on LCDs, now a standard feature in notebooks, flat screen TVs, and mobile phones, started during the student riots in Paris in 1968. He discovered several electromagnetic properties of liquid crystals, including how the orientation of their molecules can change when an electric field is applied.

That research led to the development of a whole new industry.

However, de Gennes was certainly not the only researcher working on properties of liquid crystals. The first operational LCD based on the Dynamic Scattering Mode (DSM) had already been introduced in 1968 by a group at RCA in the USA headed by George Heilmeier. Heilmeier then founded Optel, which introduced a number of LCDs based on this technology. In 1972, the first active-matrix liquid crystal display panel was produced in the United States by T Peter Brody.

De Gennes had a wide range of interests - he had a passion for painting and drawing and even wrote a satirical book. Ten years ago he suddenly took up acting, when he took part in a movie about Pierre and Marie Curie, playing the role of delivery man alongside French stars Isabelle Huppert and Philippe Noiret.

More on his film appearance here from the Internet Movie DataBase. And there's more on his Nobel prize here.®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
'Utter killjoy Reg hacks have NEVER BEEN LAID', writes a fan
'Shuddit, smarty pants!' Some readers reacted badly to our last Doctor Who review ...
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
White LED lies: It's great, but Nobel physics prize-winning great?
How artificial lighting could offer an artificial promise
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.