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When Spins Take the Stage: Libor Šmejkal's Triumph at the Falling Walls Award

Libor Šmejkal was selected from hundreds of nominated scientists to be awarded the Breakthrough Scientific Discovery of the Year 2023 title in the Falling Walls competition for his theoretical work on altermagnetism and non-dissipative nanoelectronics.

He was able to explain his discoveries to the general public by comparing a new form of magnetism to the dance of swans. His scientific career illustrates the importance of the role of teachers and mentors and symbolises a commitment to discovery and contribution to scientific knowledge.

More information can be found here.

In altermagnets on adjacent magnetic atoms, not only the directions of spin polarization alternate (shown in purple and blue), but also the shapes of the atoms themselves (shown by the tilt of the electron densities in two different directions). The blue beam shows a photoemission experiment on a synchrotron that was used to demonstrate altermagnetism.

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