Nobel Prize in Physics 2021
Three scientists received the Nobel Prize in Physics 2021 on Tuesday for their “revolutionary contributions” to the global understanding of climate work – and how human activities such as carbon dioxide emissions affect it.
Three scientists awarded 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics for work to help understand complex systems such as the Earth’s climate https://t.co/bgG0taOWVY
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) October 5, 2021
Syukuro Manabe and Klaus Hasselmann
Syukuro Manabe from Princeton University and Klaus Hasselmann from the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg jointly received half of the prize for their work on “physical modeling of the earth’s climate, quantifying variability and reliably predicting global warming”. The Swedish Academy of Sciences announced in a press release.
Giorgio Parisi, theoretical physicist at the Sapienza University in Rome, received the other half of the award for “discovering the interplay between disorder and fluctuations in physical systems from the atomic to the planetary scale”.
Thors Hans Hansson, chairman of the Nobel Committee on Physics, said in a statement that “The discoveries recognized this year demonstrate that our knowledge of climate rests on a solid scientific foundation based on rigorous analysis of observations.”
“This year’s award winners have all helped us to gain deeper insights into the properties and development of complex physical systems,” added Hansson.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which awards the Nobel Prizes in Physics and Chemistry, summarized the contributions of the three scientists:
Syukuro Manabe showed how an increased carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere leads to increased temperatures on the earth’s surface. In the 1960s he led the development of physical models of the earth’s climate and was the first to research the interaction between radiation balance and vertical transport of air masses. His work laid the foundation for the development of current climate models.
About ten years later, Klaus Hasselmann created a model that links weather and climate and thus answers the question of why climate models can be reliable despite changeable and chaotic weather. He also developed methods of identifying specific signals, fingerprints, that imprint both natural phenomena and human activities on the climate. His methods were used to prove that the elevated temperature in the atmosphere was due to human carbon dioxide emissions.
Around 1980 Giorgio Parisi discovered hidden patterns in disordered complex materials. His discoveries are among the most important contributions to the theory of complex systems. They make it possible to understand and describe many different and seemingly completely random materials and phenomena, not only in physics, but also in other very different areas such as mathematics, biology, neuroscience and machine learning.