Giorgio Parisi won the Nobel Prize in Physics with the Japanese Syukuro Manabe and the German Klaus Hasselmann for his contributions “to the understanding of complex physical systems”. “I’m happy, I didn’t expect it,” commented the Italian
Italian Giorgio Parisi
, 73, won the Nobel Prize in Physics, along with the Japanese Syukuro Manabe and German Klaus Hasselmann. The prize was awarded “for innovative contributions to the understanding of complex physical systems”. The prize, awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, has a value of just under 1 million euros. “I’m happy, I didn’t expect it, but I knew there could be possibilities, ”Parisi said in liaison with the Stockholm Academy of Sciences. “The Nobel should also have gone to Nicola Cabibbo,” said the newly awarded, who in 2008 had harshly criticized the choices of the Swedish Academy of Sciences that excluded Cabibbo (who died in 2010) from the prize. “The Nobel – he added – is an important recognition for Italian science, which could have taken several Nobel Prizes in physics and other disciplines”.
The searches of the 90-year-old Manabe and of Hasselmann, 89, helped define “the physical modeling of the earth’s climate, quantifying variability and reliably predicting global warming”; those of Parisi concerned “the discovery of the interaction between disorder and fluctuations in physical systems from the atomic to the planetary scale“. His discoveries – we read in the motivations of the Nobel – “are among the most important contributions to the theory of complex systems”. The one awarded to Parisi was almost an «announced Nobel». A few weeks ago, in fact, the scientist – the first Italian – had entered the prestigious Clarivate Citation Laureates list, considered a sort of «antechamber of the Nobel».
Parisi is president of the class of Physical, Mathematical and Natural Sciences of the Accademia dei Lincei, full professor of theoretical physics at the La Sapienza University of Rome and associate researcher of the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (Infn). He was recently awarded the Wolf Prize (2021) and previously had other important awards such as the Boltzmann Medal (1992), the Dirac Medal for Theoretical Physics (1999) and the Max Planck Medal (2011). Born in Rome in 1948, Parisi was president of the Accademia dei Lincei from 2018 to 2021. His research has ranged in numerous fields: from elementary particles to statistical mechanics, from fluid dynamics to condensed matter, from supercomputers to complex systems such as neural networks, from the immune system to the movement of groups of animals. Parisi completed his studies at the Sapienza University of Rome where he graduated in physics in 1970 under the guidance of Nicola Cabibbo.
Giorgio Parisi? awarded this year? s #NobelPrize in Physics? discovered hidden patterns in disordered complex materials. His discoveries are among the most important contributions to the theory of complex systems. pic.twitter.com/ggdbuauwcY
– The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 5, 2021
It is not easy to summarize the fields of Giorgio Parisi’s studies, which have ranged in numerous fields. His research on the theory of disordered materials and casual processesi describe different and apparently completely random phenomena and have found applications in various disciplines, such as physics, mathematics, biology, neuroscience and machine learning. A “complex system” is a structure made up of subsystems that can interact with each other with a feedback mechanism that influences their behavior and results. Therefore it must be studied in its entirety and complexity to try to understand how it works. As for particle physics, for example, his analyzes have helped in the understanding of dynamics of proton-proton collisions in particle accelerators such as Cern’s Lhc. “The great merit of Parisi was not only having always contributed in a decisive way to the sectors to which he dedicated himself, but also having done so ahead of his time,” said Antonio Zoccoli, president of the National Institute of Nuclear Physics. Other fields of application concerned statistical mechanics, spin glasses, condensed matter and supercomputers. Parisi’s research shows how the complexity emerges spontaneously from the inherent disorder of matter and from the fluctuations from the atomic level on the planetary scale, in practice overcoming (in part) the concept of cause and effect that is the basis of all classical physics.
Syukuro Manabe And Klaus Hasselmann are the “fathers “of current climate models. The Japanese Manabe has shown how the increase in the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere leads to an increase in temperatures on the surface of the Earth. In the 1960s he led the development of physical models of the earth’s climate and was the first to explore the interaction between the radiation balance and the vertical transport of air masses. The German Hasselmann in the 1980s succeeded in demonstrating that chaotic weather phenomena can be described as rapidly evolving noise, thus placing long-term climate predictions on a solid scientific basis. Overall, the two researchers made it possible to unequivocally verify that the Earth is warming and that these changes are largely due to human activities.
October 5, 2021 (change October 5, 2021 | 17:41)
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