Three scientists won the Nobel Prize in physics Tuesday last week for work that found order in seeming disorder, helping to explain and predict complex forces of nature, including expanding our understanding of climate change.
Syukuro Manabe, originally from Japan, and Klaus Hasselmann of Germany were cited for their work in developing forecast models of Earth’s climate and “reliably predicting global warming.” The second half of the prize went to Giorgio Parisi of Italy for explaining disorder in physical systems, ranging from those as small as the insides of atoms to the planet-sized.
Hasselmann told the Associated Press that he “would rather have no global warming and no Nobel Prize.” Calling climate change “a major crisis,” Manabe said that figuring out the physics behind climate change was “1,000 times” easier than getting the world to do something about it.
Photo: AFP 照片：法新社
All three scientists work on what are known as “complex systems,” of which climate is just one example. But the prize went to two fields of study that are opposite in many ways, though they share the goal of making sense of what seems random and chaotic so that it can be predicted.
The research of Parisi, of Sapienza University of Rome, largely centers around subatomic particles, predicting how they move in seemingly chaotic ways and explaining why. It is somewhat esoteric, while the work by Manabe and Hasselmann is about large-scale global forces that shape our daily lives.
Parisi “built a deep physical and mathematical model” that made it possible to understand complex systems in fields as different as mathematics, biology, neuroscience and machine learning.
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