The Nobel in physics was awarded Tuesday to the American Syukuro Manabe and the German Klaus Hasselmann, authors of work directly related to climate change, and half to the Italian Giorgio Parisi for their “revolutionary contributions to our understanding of systems. complex physics “.
the Nobel Prize in Physics 2021 was awarded, Tuesday, October 5, to two experts in the physical modeling of climate change, the American-Japanese Syukuro Manabe and the German Klaus Hasselmann, as well as to the Italian theorist Giorgio Parisi.
Half of the prize rewards Manabe, 90, and Hasselmann, 89, “for physically modeling the Earth’s climate and for quantifying its variability and reliably predicting global warming,” according to the jury.
The other half goes to Giorgio Parisi, 73, “for the discovery of the interplay of disorder and fluctuations in physical systems from atomic to planetary scale”.
A price under the sign of the climate
If it is a scientific award, the prize comes in the midst of an alarm phase on the pace of climate change and one month before COP26, the world climate summit organized in Glasgow.
Meteorological experts Syukuro Manabe, born in Japan but living in the United States, and Klaus Hasselmann received a first half of the prize.
The Nobel Committee rewards Manabe’s foundational work on the greenhouse effect in the 1960s, by which he showed that the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere corresponded to the increase in Earth temperatures.
Based in Hamburg, Hasselman has won an award for having succeeded in establishing reliable climate models despite the wide variations in weather conditions.
Parisi was awarded separately “for the discovery of the interplay of disorder and fluctuations in physical systems from atomic to planetary scale”.
His arduous work was among “the most important contributions” to the theory of so-called complex systems.
“This year’s prize recognizes new methods for describing them and predicting their long-term behavior,” said the Swedish Academy of Sciences.
Last year, the prize was awarded to the Briton Roger Penrose, the German Reinhard Genzel and the American Andrea Ghez, three pioneers of research on “black holes”, regions of the universe from which nothing can be done. escape.
Quantum physicists as well as Parisi served as favorites, according to experts interviewed by AFP, even if dozens of researchers around the world were considered nobelizable in physics.
In accordance with the unchanging order of attribution, medicine had launched the Nobel 2021 ball on Monday by crowning Americans David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian, whose work on touch and sensory receptors paved the way for combating chronic pain.
Hungarian Katalin Kariko and American Drew Weissman, pioneers of messenger RNA vaccines who were among the favorites in medicine, could have a second chance in chemistry on Wednesday.
For critics interviewed by AFP, the literature prize announced Thursday by the Swedish Academy could go to a non-Westerner, for the first time since 2012.
As for peace on Friday, the only prize awarded to Oslo is particularly open this year. The experts mention in particular the freedom of the press – with Reporters Without Borders or the Committee to Protect Journalists – or the Belarusian opponent Svetlana Tikhanovskaïa.
Health crisis obliges, for the second consecutive year, the winners will receive their prize in their country of residence, even if a little hope remains to welcome the one for peace in Norway.