The Nobel Prize for Physics has been awarded to three scientists from Japan, Germany and Italy, "for groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of complex systems." One half of the Nobel prize was awarded jointly to Syukuro Manabe (Japan) and Klaus Hasselmann (Germany) "for the physical modelling of Earth's climate, quantifying variability and reliably predicting global warming" and the other half to Giorgio Parisi (Italy) "for the discovery of the interplay of disorder and fluctuations in physical systems from atomic to planetary scales," a statement by The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said.
The winners were announced on Tuesday, October 5, by Goran Hansson, secretary-general of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. The prestigious award comes with a gold medal and 10 million Swedish kronor (over USD 1.14 million). The prize money comes from a bequest left by the prize's creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who died in 1895. Like most years, it is common for several scientists who work in related fields to share the prize. Last year, the prize went to American Andrea Ghez, Roger Penrose of Britain and Reinhard Genzel of Germany for their research into black holes.
"Three Laureates share this yearâ€™s Nobel Prize in Physics for their studies of chaotic and apparently random phenomena. Syukuro Manabe and Klaus Hasselmann laid the foundation of our knowledge of the Earthâ€™s climate and how humanity influences it. Giorgio Parisi is rewarded for his revolutionary contributions to the theory of disordered materials and random processes," the statement said.
Syukuro Manabe demonstrated how increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere lead to increased temperatures at the surface of the Earth. About 10 years later, Klaus Hasselmann created a model that links together weather and climate, thus answering the question of why climate models can be reliable despite weather being changeable and chaotic. 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.
â€śThe discoveries being recognised this year demonstrate that our knowledge about the climate rests on a solid scientific foundation, based on rigorous analysis of observations. This yearâ€™s Laureates have all contributed to us gaining deeper insight into the properties and evolution of complex physical systems,â€ť says Thors Hans Hansson, chair of the Nobel Committee for Physics.
On Monday, the Nobel Committee awarded Nobel prizes in physiology or medicine to Americans David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian for their discoveries into how the human body perceives temperature and touch. Over the coming days, the prizes will also be awarded for outstanding work in the fields of chemistry, literature, peace and economics.