Louis Eugène Félix Néel

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Néel, Louis Eugène Félix


Born Nov. 22, 1904, in Lyon. French physicist. Member of the Paris Academy of Sciences (1953). Foreign member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1958).

In 1928, Néel graduated from the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. He was a professor at the university in Strasbourg from 1937 to 1945. In 1945 he became a professor at the university in Grenoble. He also became director of the Center for Nuclear Research in Grenoble in 1957 and director of the Polytechnic Institute in 1958.

Néel’s main works have been on the theory of magnetism. In 1932 he proposed, independently of L. D. Landau, the hypothesis of the existence of antiferromagnetic substances (antiferromagnets) and introduced the concept of sublattices to describe the magnetic structure of these antiferromagnets. In 1936 he predicted the strong anisotropy of the magnetic properties of antiferromagnets and, in particular, the inversion of magnetic sublattices in a strong magnetic field. He explained the basic properties of ferrites by applying the theory of the molecular field to the model of magnetic sublattices. The temperature of the transition to the antiferromagnetic state is named after him (the Néel point). Néel also investigated such problems as the properties of systems of small single-domain particles, supermagnetism, and the influence of the surface on anisotropy.

Néel is a foreign member of many academies of sciences, including those of Great Britain, the Netherlands, and the Federal Republic of Germany, and he is also a member of various world scientific societies. He was president of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics from 1964 to 1966. Néel received a Nobel Prize in 1970.


Borovik-Romanov, A. S. “Laureaty Nobelevskoi premii 1970 g. V oblasti fiziki—L. Neel’.” Priroda, no. 2, 1971.
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