The 2021 Nobel Prize for Physics focuses on the complex physical systems that govern the Earth’s climate, quantifying reliable predictions of global warming. The award will also recognize the discovery of the interplay of disorder and fluctuations in physical systems from atomic to planetary scales.
In a statement, the Swedish Academy of Sciences, the institution in charge of the award, said, “Complex systems are characterized by randomness and disorder and are difficult to understand. This year’s Prize recognizes new methods for describing them and predicting their long-term behaviour.”
For this year’s event, scientists who will share in the prestigious award include Japan’s Syukuro Manabe, who is a climatologist as well as the scientists who pioneered the use of computers in stimulating global climate change models, Klaus Hasselmann, a leading German climate modeler and oceanographer and Italy’s Giorgio Parisi who is a theoretical physicist.
The contributions made by the Nobel Laureates include a prediction system that reliably shows how the doubling of the earth’s CO2 emission will increase the earth’s temperature. These discoveries add clarity to previous climate-related observations, such as Edward Lorenz’s hypothesis, which illustrates the chaotic and unpredictable state of the weather and its influence on the climate.
Apart from recognizing their groundbreaking contribution to the understanding of complex physical systems in relation to the climate, the award will also include a gold medal and 10 million Swedish kronor, which amounts to about $1.15 million.
So far, the Physics award is the second Nobel prize announced recently after two Americans (David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian) won the award in medicine for their discovery of receptors under the skin that respond to touch and temperature.
The Nobel Prize in Physics is part of a series of prizes created in the final testament of Swedish dynamite inventor and businessman Alfred Nobel which stated that Nobel’s wealth should be used to award individuals who make the greatest contributions to mankind. Since 1901, Nobel Laureates in Physics have awarded prizes such as Albert Einstein in 1921 and Robert A Millikan in 1923.