Stockholm (NordSIP) – The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced today their decision to award the Nobel Prize in Physics 2021 jointly to three scientists “for ground-breaking contributions to our understanding of complex physical systems”. Syukuro Manabe from Princeton University and Klaus Hasselmann from Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg share one half of the prize “for the physical modelling of Earth’s climate, quantifying variability and reliably predicting global warming”. The second half goes to Giorgio Parisi from Sapienza University of Rome “for the discovery of the interplay of disorder and fluctuations in physical systems from atomic to planetary scales”.
Syukuro Manabe and Klaus Hasselmann are the scientists credited with laying the foundation of our knowledge of the Earth’s climate and how humanity influences it. Meanwhile, Giorgio Parisi’s work on the hidden patterns in disordered complex materials is among the most important contributions to the theory of complex systems.
“The discoveries being recognised this year demonstrate that our knowledge about the climate rests on a solid scientific foundation, based on a rigorous analysis of observations. This year’s Laureates have all contributed to us gaining deeper insight into the properties and evolution of complex physical systems,” says Thors Hans Hansson, chair of the Nobel Committee for Physics.
The climate models based on the winners’ research constitute a crucial part of the evidence to be presented at the upcoming COP26 in Glasgow. As the forecast models reveal an increasingly dire outlook if a further rise in global temperature is not curtailed, the importance of the three scientists’ work and discoveries is unquestionable. “It’s clear that for the future generation, we have to act now in a very fast way,” commented the newly crowned Nobel laureate Parisi at the news conference after the prize was announced.