Professor Erich Peter Wohlfarth and the Wohlfarth Lecture Series

The Wohlfarth annual lecture at the Magnetism Conference recognises the outstanding contribution made by Professor Peter Wohlfarth to the field of magnetism. It is jointly sponsored by our group and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) UK and Ireland Magnetics Chapter.

It also promotes Professor Wohlfarth’s areas of technical interest and his commitment to international collaboration in scientific research.

It is chosen in alternate years by the Magnetism Group and the UK and Ireland Magnetics Chapter.

The organisation of the lecture reflects the interests of Professor Wohlfarth in theoretical and experimental research, and his personal commitment to:

  • other learned bodies
  • the Institute of Physics
  • IEEE Magnetics Society


The lecture takes place annually at a national meeting organised by the IOP or at an international conference on magnetism in the UK. It is a plenary lecture.

It is co-organised and co-sponsored by the Institute of Physics Magnetism Group and the Magnetics Society of the UK and Ireland Chapter of the IEEE Magnetics Society.

The lecturer is acknowledged by the award of a certificate.

The lecturer is introduced by the chair of the nominating society or their representative and a vote of thanks is made at the end of the lecture by the chair or their nominee of the non-nominating society.


The lecture is on one of Professor Wohlfarth’s broad areas of interest. These are:

  • ferromagnetism
  • fine-particle magnetism
  • magnetic recording technology
  • magnetism of itinerant electrons
  • magnetism of thin films, surfaces and interfaces
  • permanent magnets and soft magnetic materials
  • the magnetic properties of correlated electron systems
  • structure and properties of magnetic materials including transport properties

The lecture can be on theory and experiment associated with these topics.


Members are asked to nominate candidates for the lecture by email or other methods suggested by the committees of both organisations.

Lecture nomination is decided by discussion between or ballot of committee members and committee chairs.

A nomination in one year can be carried over for consideration in following years, but is not automatic.

Over a four-year period the nominating bodies will try to ensure a balance between theory and experiment.

Over a four-year period nominations will comprise approximately:

  • two UK lecturers
  • two overseas lecturers

The nominated lecturer will usually be mid-career and approaching the peak of their scientific career.

Wohlfarth Lecturers

All Wohlfarth lecturers


Aurelien Manchon, Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, CINaM, France, “Spin-orbit physics at magnetic interfaces”, presented at Magnetism 2020 Virtual conference.


Julie Grollier, CNRS/Thales, France, “Neuromorphic computing with spintronic nano-oscillators”, presented at Magnetism 2019 in Leeds.


Gino Hrkac, University of Exeter, “ATOMs - Atomistic to Micromagnetic modelling: from permanent magnets to magnetic hybrid materials”, presented at Magnetism 2018 in Manchester.


Andre Thiaville, University of Paris-Sud, France, “New Magnetic Materials Exploiting Chiral Interactions.”, presented at Magnetism 2017 in York.


Jöerg Wunderlich, Hitachi Cambridge Laboratory, “Antiferromagnetic spintronics: Large magnitude magneto-resistance effects and current controlled switching”, presented at Magnetism 2016 in Sheffield.


Laura Heyderman, ETH Zurich/PSI, Switzerland, “Shedding light on artificial ferroic systems”, presented at Magnetism 2015 in Leeds.


Atsufumi Hirohata, York, “Nano-Spintronic Devices” presented at Magnetism 2014 conference in Manchester.


None (CMMP finished and Magnetism 2014 not started)


Steven Bramwell, UCL


Christopher Marrows, Leeds


Guido Meier, Hamburg


Stephen Blundell, Oxford


Matthias Bode, Hamburg/Argonne


Caroline Ross, MIT


Stuart Parkin, IBM


Thomas Schrefl, Sheffield


Bob Stamps, Univ. Western Australia


Amanda Petford-Long, Oxford


Wolfgang Wernsdorfer, Lab Louis Neel, Grenoble




Russell Cowburn, Durham


Tony Bland, Cambridge


Stephen Hayden, Bristol


Mary Doerner, IBM Almaden


David Awschalom, UCSB


Dominique Givord, Lab Louis Neel, Grenoble


Roy Chantrell, Bangor


Peter Grünberg, Julich


Rolf Allenspach, ETH Zurich




R. Coehoorn, Philips Research Labs, Eindhoven


Piers Coleman, Rutgers University

About Professor Erich Peter Wohlfarth

Professor Wohlfarth was a rare theoretical physicist with a real interest in materials science and an experimental pragmatism. His work remains important today because of its outstanding quality over a wide spectrum of activities, from the most intricate theoretical physics of ferromagnetism via magnetic hysteresis and anhysteresis, to the materials and engineering problems of magnetic recording, which remains the key technology in data storage.

He was born in Germany in 1924 and emigrated to England with his family in 1933 where he attended Bingley Grammar School in Yorkshire. He gained his BSc in physics from the University of Leeds in 1946 and his PhD in 1948 under EC Stoner. After his studies, he became a lecturer in the Department of Mathematics at Imperial College where he remained until his death in 1988.

Particle magnetism

He is best known for his theory of fine-particle magnetism. This model has formed the basis of many contributions to the understanding of magnetisation reversal processes and their application in magnetic recording and permanent magnets.

Professor Wohlfarth made an important contribution to understanding the origin of ferromagnetism in metals such as iron, and the variation of magnetic properties with temperature. This work, based on the band model of ferromagnetism, is often called the Stoner-Wohlfarth itinerant electron model. It remains the simplest model which explains ferromagnetism in metals.

He was a great researcher and teacher with a brilliant intellect, intuition, and refreshing common sense. His ingenious way of thinking, and untiring devotion to work, left an indelible mark on a generation of scientists and engineers.