Girogio Parisi winner of Nobel Prize for Physics

Italian wins Nobel Prize for Physics alongside American-Japanese and German

Environment News

The award of the Nobel Prize in Physics went in part to Giorgio Parisi, an Italian physicist who studied chaos and complex systems. Alongside him were American scientist of Japanese origin Syukuro Manabe, 90, and the German Klaus Hasselmann, 89. 

Parisi, 73, from Rome, received the Nobel Prize for “the discovery of the interaction between disorder and fluctuations in physical systems from the atomic level to the planetary scale”. 

His two colleagues, climatologists, won for “the physical modeling of the Earth’s climate, which quantifies its variability and reliably predicts global warming”.

Today is a good day

“Indeed, this day is a good day” Parisi tells the Accademia dei Lincei, of which he is vice president.  He runs like a young man between a compliment and a question, from time to time he opens up in one of the brightest smiles known to the category of scientists. No celebration had been prepared, although the feeling that the prize was on the way was there. “Absolutely, we have not anticipated anything” say his colleagues at the Academy. “Not even a photo or a ten-line biography”.

One of Parisi’s first thoughts is for his mentor Nicola Cabibbo, the “failed Nobel” with whom he graduated in 1970. “They should have given him the award, not me. He was a great physicist and instilled knowledge. and enthusiasm to a generation of Italian physicists, myself included”. 

Order from Chaos

But what did Parisi actually discover? “I dealt with chaos” explains the scientist. “There is nothing more fascinating than finding an order within it. From particles to neural systems, to the components that form a piece of glass, there are systems whose rules are all to be discovered and my job is to try to do that. There are still many things that I would like to discover”. 

Italy therefore still seems to be a country suitable for science. “I have been happy with it and have always stayed here. It is true that in science there is no longer much trust nowadays. We think it has stopped helping us create a better future. But whoever thinks we would be wrong is wrong. What we need is more science, not less science.” And it could also help us in tackling climate change. “Science has the task of helping us predict the future,” says Parisi. “In this case it warns us that something serious could happen if we don’t act as soon as possible to stop it.” 

Studied different topics

In his career Parisi has studied very different topics, united by being able to be called complex systems: from the Higgs Boson to the interactions between neurons in the brain. The latter led him to deal with neural networks and artificial intelligence, up to the behavior of individual birds.

Today he researches the structure of heterogeneous materials such as glass. The study of climate is also considered part of complex systems. For this the Italian physicist was awarded alongside two fellow climatologists.

Leave a Reply