Although you've probably never glanced at your HDD-based music player and whispered a silent "thank you" to France's Albert Fert and Germany's Peter Grünberg, they're being rewarded handsomely for their discovery of a phenomenon used in every single one. In the effect, which is dubbed giant magnetoresistance, "very weak changes in magnetism generate larger changes in electrical resistance," which in turn allows data stored on hard drives to be "converted to electrical signals." The duo has been largely credited with enabling the portable HDD player market to explode, and they will reportedly split the respectable $1.5 million purse that comes with winning the Nobel Prize in physics.

[Image courtesy of Nobel Prize]

Blaupunkt rolls out USB-ready MP47, MP57 car stereos