This year‘s Nobel Prize in Physics is going to an American and a German who did research on global warming, and an Italian who was researching order and disorder.
The Nobel Prize has an amount of 10 million Swedish kronor, converted almost 1 million euros. One half is for the American Syukuro Manabe and the German Klaus Hasselmann. The other half of the amount goes to Italian Giorgio Parisi. Parisi discovered “the interaction between disorder and fluctuations, from atoms to planets.”
Manabe (90) was born in Japan and moved to the United States around 1960. He joined the federal weather service there. There he discovered that Earth’s average temperature rises as the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases. Doubling the amount of CO2 increases the temperature on Earth by more than 2 degrees. This discovery is the basis of climate change. That long-term expectation was difficult to combine with short-term weather at that time. The weather in more than a week is hard to predict, as small movements in the air can have major consequences. Hasselmann discovered at the Max Planck Institute in Germany that there is a structure in that chaos. “He answered the question of why climate models are reliable, even if the weather is changeable and chaotic,” explains the Nobel Committee.
fact that Manabe and Hasselmann will be awarded the Nobel Prize this year is also a message to world leaders, coming together soon at a climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland. “Climate models are firmly based on physical theories. Global warming is supported by sound science,” said the jury.
Parisi, the third winner, works in a different field, but there are common ground. He studies complex systems, with particles that seem to behave unpredictably and randomly. Around 1980, he discovered that there are hidden patterns in that chaos. “His discoveries make it possible to understand and describe many different and seemingly random materials and phenomena, not only in physics, but also in mathematics, biology, neuroscience and machine learning,” explains the Nobel Committee.