Nobel Prize in Physics 2021: They are the winners

The pNobel Prize in Physics 2021 was granted this Tuesday two experts in the physical modeling of climate change, the Japanese-American Syukuro Manabe and the German Klaus Hasselmann, as well as the Italian theorist Giorgio Parisi.

Half of the prize will go to Manabe, 80, and Hasselmann, 79, “for the physical modeling of the Earth’s climate and for having reliably quantified the variability and predicted climate change,” the jury said.

The other half was attributed to Parisi, 73, “for the discovery of the interaction of disorder and fluctuations in physical systems, from the atomic to the planetary scale “.

In the last two years, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences had awarded discoveries in the field of astronomy, so many observers were betting that this year the work carried out in other fields of research would be distinguished.

“The discoveries recognized this year show that our knowledge of the climate rests on a solid scientific foundation, based on rigorous analysis and observations,” Thors Hans Hansson, chairman of the Nobel Committee for Physics, said in a statement.

In 2019, the Nobel Prize in Physics went to three cosmologists, the Canadian-American James Peebles, who followed in the footsteps of Einstein to clarify the origins of the universe, and the Swiss Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz, who revealed the existence of a planet outside the solar system.

Last year, the award recognized Britain’s Roger Penrose, Germany’s Reinhard Genzel and the American Andrea Ghez, pioneers of research on “black holes”, the regions of the universe where nothing can escape.

This edition of the Nobel continues on Wednesday with the Chemistry Prize, which will be followed by the Literature Prize on Thursday and the Peace Prize on Friday. The Economy, the most recently created, will close the season on Monday.

The winners of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics

Syukuro Manabe demonstrated how increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere lead to increased temperatures on the Earth’s surface.

In the 1960s, he led the development of physical models of Earth’s climate and was the first person to explore 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, thus answering the question of why climate models can be reliable even though the climate is changeable and chaotic.

He also developed methods to identify specific signals, fingerprints, that both natural phenomena and human activities imprint on the climate. His methods have been used to show that the increase in temperature in the atmosphere is due to human emissions of carbon dioxide.


For his part, around 1980, Giorgio Parisi discovered hidden patterns in messy 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, depending on the fault.

“The discoveries being recognized this year demonstrate that our knowledge of the climate rests on a solid scientific foundation, based on rigorous analysis of observations. All of this year’s awardees have helped us gain a deeper insight into the properties. and the evolution of complex physical systems “, says Thors Hans Hansson, chairman of the Nobel Committee for Physics.

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Nobel Prize in Physics 2021: They are the winners

Hank Gilbert