Meeting Information

The Physics of Data Storage

November 16, 2005
American Center for Physics
College Park, MD


The data density of many computer storage devices has doubled every year for the past five years while the costs of the units have plummeted. Such advances are made possible by the fusion of knowledge from many disciplines: Materials and chemistry, dynamics, control, and signal processing; computer systems; and circuit design. But the laws of physics set the fundamental limits as well as the ultimate performance for storage devices. This talk will concentrate on the physical aspects of optics, magnetics, and semiconductors that make modern data storage devices possible.


Thomas Leedy has recently retired from of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) after 32 years with the agency. For the past seven years he was a program manager for the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) of NIST. Within ATP, Mr. Leedy funded many projects in digital data storage, flat-panel displays, electronics and electronics manufacturing. His prior work at NIST included research in electronics and as a member of the technical staff of the Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory where he participated in research dealing with automatic test equipment, electronic reliability, silicon processing technology, and electronic systems. He has served on numerous standards committees in microelectronics, computers, radiation effects, and electronic instrumentation for IEEE, ASTM, and U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration.

Mr. Leedy has a B.S. degree in Physics from American University (1965), and a M.S. in Electrical Engineering (1972) and an M.S. in Engineering Administration (1984) from George Washington University.