Trio wins Nobel Prize in physics for their work in deciphering chaotic climate

  • The 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics awarded to three scientists
  • Their work has improved understanding of climate change
  • World Meteorological Organization welcomes decision

STOCKHOLM, Oct.5 (Reuters) – Japanese-American Syukuro Manabe, German Klaus Hasselmann and Italian Giorgio Parisi on Tuesday won the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics for work that helps understand complex physical systems such as Earth’s climate change.

In a move hailed by the United Nations meteorological agency as a sign of a consensus around man-made global warming, half the price of 10 million Swedish kronor ($ 1.15 million) goes equally in Manabe, 90, and Hasselmann, 89. , to model the Earth’s climate and reliably predict global warming.

The other half go to Parisi for discovering in the early 1980s “hidden rules” behind seemingly random movements and vortices in gases or liquids that can also be applied to aspects of neuroscience, machine learning and flight formations of starlings.

“Syukuro Manabe and Klaus Hasselmann laid the foundation for our knowledge of Earth’s climate and how humanity influences it,” the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in a statement. “Giorgio Parisi is recognized for his revolutionary contributions to the theory of disordered materials and random processes.”

Hasselmann, who works at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, told Reuters from his home that he did not want to wake up from what he described as a beautiful dream.

“I’m retired, you know, and I’ve been a little lazy lately. I’m happy for this honor. The research continues,” he said.

The Academy said Manabe, who works at Princeton University in the United States, laid the foundation in the 1960s for the current understanding of Earth’s climate after leaving Japan to continue his research in the United States. United.

Interviewed by American and Japanese reporters at his home, Manabe said he believed his award reflected the Academy’s recognition of climate change, which he said will continue to intensify with more droughts, torrential rains , warming of continental masses and melting polar ice.

“Already, as you know, many phenomena show that climate change is happening,” he said in Japanese. “And I think that’s why the theme of climate change was selected for the award this time.”

When asked in English how he would tackle climate change skeptics, he smiled and replied, “This problem is about a million times more difficult than understanding climate change. It’s very mysterious to me.

Hasselmann, the Academy said, had developed models some 10 years later that have become essential in proving that mankind’s carbon dioxide emissions cause temperatures in the atmosphere to rise.

Parisi, who took part in the press conference announcing the winners, has been invited to deliver her message to world leaders scheduled to meet for the UN climate change talks in Glasgow, Scotland from October 31. .

Member of the Nobel Committee for Physics Thors Hans Hansson, Secretary General of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Goran K. Hansson, and Member of the Nobel Committee for Physics John Wettlaufer announce the winners of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, Sweden, October 5, 2021. Pontus Lundahl / TT News Agency via REUTERS

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“I think it is very urgent that we take real and very strong decisions and move forward at a very sustained pace,” said the 73-year-old Nobel laureate, who works at Sapienza University in Rome.

Scientists have spent decades calling for action on climate change an often reluctant society, Hasselmann said in a recording published on the Nobel Prize’s website.

“It’s just that people are not ready to accept the fact that they have to react now to something that will happen in a few years,” he said.


Work on climate change has already been recognized by Nobel Prizes.

Former US Vice President Al Gore and the UN Climate Panel received the Peace Prize in 2007 for galvanizing international action against global warming. William Nordhaus won half of the 2018 economics prize for mainstreaming climate change into the Western economic growth model.

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg is also seen as a strong contender for this year’s Peace Prize, which is due to be announced in Oslo on Friday. Read more

“The skeptics or deniers of scientific facts … are no longer so visible and this message on climate science has been heard,” World Meteorological Organization secretary-general Petteri Taalas said of the award. This year.

Physics is the second Nobel Prize awarded this week after Americans David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian won the Medicine Prize on Monday for the discovery of receptors in the skin that sense temperature and touch. Read more

The Nobel Prizes were created at the will of Swedish inventor and dynamite businessman Alfred Nobel and have been awarded since 1901 with only a handful of interruptions, mainly due to the two world wars.

Like last year, there will be no banquet in Stockholm due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The winners will receive their medals and diplomas in their country of origin. Read more

The announcement of the physics prize will be followed in the coming days by the chemistry, literature, peace and economics prizes.

($ 1 = 8.7290 Swedish kronor)

Ludwig Burger reported from Frankfurt; Additional reporting by Terje Solsvik in Oslo, Supantha Mukherjee and Anna Ringstrom in Stockholm, Johan Ahlander in Göteborg, Kirsti Knolle in Berlin, Emma Farge in Geneva, Peter Szekely in New York, Andrew Hofstetter in Princeton and Angelo Amante in Rome; Editing by Timothy Heritage, Jon Boyle and Mark Heinrich

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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