The Nobel Prize in Physics 2021 honors scientists who have made important contributions “to our understanding of complex systems” in two distinct ways. Half of the prize is awarded jointly to Professor Syukuro Manabe and Professor Klaus Hasselmann “for the physical modeling of Earth’s climate, quantifying variability and reliably predicting global warming.” The other half goes to Professor Giorgio Parisi “for the discovery of the interplay of disorder and fluctuations in physical systems from atomic to planetary scales.”
>All the recipients of this year’s prize have helped us understand systems characterized by randomness and disorder. Manabe’s work led the development of physical climate modeling and our understanding of the link between rising carbon dioxide levels in the air and higher surface temperatures. Hasselmann’s research established the link between climate and weather, showing that the chaotic fluctuations of weather patterns don’t impact the predictability of climate models. His work became the basis for showing that our atmosphere is warming because of human-caused increases in CO2 levels. Parisi discovered that hidden rules that guide the behavior of seemingly random systems, such as spin glasses, and was able to mathematically describe such hidden structures. His work is essential to our understanding of how simple individual behaviors can lead to complex collective behaviors, found in everything from the occurrence of ice ages to the flight of starlings.
Professor Giorgio Parisi published several papers in ACS Publications journals over the years, as well as a chapter of an ebook. The following publications are free-to-read for 30 days, starting October 5, 2021.
Exact Theory of Dense Amorphous Hard Spheres in High Dimension. II. The High Density Regime and the Gardner Transition
J. Phys. Chem. B 2013, 117, 42, 12979–12994
An Increasing Correlation Length in Off-Equilibrium Glasses
J. Phys. Chem. B 1999, 103, 20, 4128–4131
The Replica Approach to Glasses
ACS Symposium Series Vol. 676