Physics Nobel Rewards Work on Complex Systems

Secretary General of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Goran Hansson, center, flanked at left by member of the Nobel Committee for Physics Thors Hans Hansson, left, and member of the Nobel Committee for Physics John Wettlaufer, right, announces the winners of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, in Stockholm, Sweden, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. (Pontus Lundahl/TT via AP)

Three scientists won the Nobel Prize in physics Tuesday 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.

The award comes with a gold medal and 10 million Swedish kronor (over $1.14 million). The money comes from a bequest left by the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who died in 1895.

On Monday, the Nobel Committee awarded the prize 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 prizes will also be awarded for outstanding work in the fields of chemistry, literature, peace and economics.