Nobel Prize 2021 Resources

Nobel 2022 AIP banner image

The Nobel Prize committee announced the 2021 Nobel Prize in physics on Tuesday, Oct. 5, recognizing Syukuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselmann, and Giorgio Parisi.

Click below to expand for access to comments from AIP and AIP Publishing leadership, multimedia archives, and reporting on the prizes from Physics Today and Inside Science.

The 2021 Nobel Prize in physics was awarded jointly to Syukuro Manabe and Klaus Hasselmann "for the physical modelling of Earth's climate, quantifying variability and reliably predicting global warming," and Giorgio Parisi "for the discovery of the interplay of disorder and fluctuations in physical systems from atomic to planetary scales."

Manabe and Hasselmann were honored for trying to explain the complexities of the Earth's climate and the impact of variability in weather over long periods of time, while Parisi was honored for his work examining the changing landscape of material states, impacting a broad swath of physical systems.

When asked about the link between the two winning prizes, the Nobel Committee emphasized that without the ability to analyze the chaos of fluctuations/disorder, we cannot predict the changes in the climate, and they are sending a message to world leaders to act now on climate change.

From AIP Leadership

"Today's announcement reminds me that physics seeks to explain how we experience the world and understand our place in the universe by probing and describing the attributes of the natural world's most tiny and fundamental constituents, so we can explain large and complex phenomena, such as the climates of planets or the nature of seemingly simple materials around us like glass," said Michael Moloney, CEO of AIP.

"Every day, we experience the Earth's climate through each day's weather. What's hidden from immediate view is the complexity of the Earth system -- how the atmosphere, the oceans, and the solid Earth interplay to drive our planet's climate," Moloney said. "Half of today's prize recognizes seminal work that helps us understand that system. It is an outstanding decision for climate science in this particular year as we approach the COP26 conference to address the climate crisis.

"Nearly every climate model used today relies on the groundbreaking research done by Syukuro Manabe, whose pioneering work explored the interaction between radiation balance and the vertical transport of air masses, and Klaus Hasselmann, who was the first scientist to directly link weather and climate into a single model and explain why climate models can be predictable.

"Giorgio Parisi's work helps us understand how hidden patterns at the molecular level in what may seem like common place objects and systems, like glass, help us describe these disordered complex materials and be able to predict their properties.

"Both prizes show how the value of the interdisciplinary nature of physics and how our knowledge, and indeed critical policy decisions, rely on fundamental basic research that seeks to explain everyday human experiences."


Syukuro Manabe was born in the village of Shingu in Shikoku, Japan, in 1931 and earned his Ph.D. in 1958 at the University of Tokyo. Shortly after finishing his degree, he went to work at what is now the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL), formerly the U.S. Weather Bureau's General Circulation Research Section. Manabe there worked with Joe Smagorinsky on general circulation models of the atmosphere. When the GFDL moved to Princeton University, Manabe moved there as well. Apart from visiting professorships at Tokyo University and Nagoya University, Manabe has spent the rest of his career at Princeton University where he currently holds the title of Senior Meteorologist.

From the 1960s and onward Manabe has made major contributions to the field of climate modeling and has pioneered the use of computer modeling to simulate global climate change. In collaboration with Kirk Bryan, Manabe developed the first general circulation model of the coupled atmosphere-ocean-land system, demonstrating the important effect of ocean dynamics on climate and becoming a powerful tool for the simulation of global warming. Manabe's research quantitatively demonstrated that increases in the Earth's surface temperatures are linked to increasing carbon dioxide emissions and calculated that a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels would lead to an overall rise of Earth's temperatures by approximately 2 degrees Celsius.

Manabe has been honored with many national and international awards over the years, including multiple awards by the American Meteorological Society (AMS): its Meisinger Award in 1967, the Second Half Century Award in 1987, and the Rossby Research Medal in 1992. The AMS also awards a prize named in his honor "to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the fundamental understanding of Earth's climate system."


Klaus Hasselmann was born in Hamburg, Germany, in 1931 and moved to England, U.K.,  with his family in 1934 to escape political persecution. In 1949 he returned to Germany and studied mathematics and physics at the University of Hamburg. He earned his Ph.D. in 1957 from the Max Planck Institute of Fluid Dynamics and University of Göttingen, after which he returned to the University of Hamburg where he became a professor, and later director, at the Institute for Geophysics and Planetary Physics. Hasselmann then worked for two years at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and in 1972 was appointed as a Professor of Theoretical Geophysics at the University of Hamburg. He served as the director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology from 1975 to 1999, and from 1999 onward has been Emeritus of that same institute. In addition, from 1988 to 1999, Hasselmann was the scientific director at the German High Performance Computing Centre for Climate and Earth System Research.

Hasselmann has published extensive papers focusing on climate, oceanography, and meteorology. He developed the Hasselmann model of climate variability, linking together climate and weather to show that, despite chaotic weather patterns, climate changes can be predicted. His research has helped identify fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions as key drivers in increasing atmospheric temperatures.

Hasselmann has received numerous awards including the Sverdrup Medal of the AMS.


Giorgio Parisi was born in Rome, Italy, in 1948 and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Rome in 1970 in which he worked on high-energy physics under Nicola Cabibbo. Parisi then went to work at the Laboratori Nazionali di Frascati from 1971 to 1981 apart from visiting professorships at Columbia University, the Institute des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques, and the Ecole Normale Superieure. From 1981 to 1992 Parisi worked as a full professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Roma II, Tor Vergata. Since 1992 Parisi has worked as a Professor of Quantum Theories at the University of Roma I, La Sapienza.

Parisi has worked in many fields but is especially interested in disordered systems. In 1978 he began working on spin glass and in 1979 found the exact solution of the Sherrington-Kirkpatrick mean field model of spin glasses. For this discovery he won the 2005 Heineman Prize and the 2016 Lars Onsager Prize from the American Physical Society. His work has made it possible to comprehend complex materials and phenomena, which is integral for many scientific fields. Parisi also has an interest in developing computational tools, as part of which he helped develop the Array Processor Expansible project.

From the AIP Physics Network


Syukuro Manabe, interviewed by Paul Edwards, March 14, 1998

Syukuro Manabe, interviewed by Spencer Weart, Dec. 20, 1989

Klaus Hasselmann, interviewed by Hans von Storch and Dirk Olbers, Feb. 15, 2006


Syukuro Manabe:,%20Syukuro,%201931-%22)

Klaus Hasselmann:

Below you will find links to relevant works from AIP Publishing, freely available to read for a limited time.


A mean field theory for arrays of Josephson junctions 
Giorgio Parisi 
J. Math. Phys. 37, 5158 (1996) 

Stochastic stability 
Giorgio Parisi 
AIP Conference Proceedings 553, 73 (2001)

A first-principle computation of the thermodynamics of glasses 
Marc Mézard and Giorgio Parisi 
J. Chem. Phys. 111, 1076 (1999)

On the survey-propagation equations in random constraint satisfiability problems 
Giorgio Parisi 
J. Math. Phys. 49, 125216 (2008)

Configurational entropy of polydisperse supercooled liquids 
Misaki Ozawa, Giorgio Parisi, and  Ludovic Berthier 
J. Chem. Phys. 149, 154501 (2018)

Static replica approach to critical correlations in glassy systems 
Silvio Franz, Hugo Jacquin, Giorgio Parisi, Pierfrancesco Urbani, and Francesco Zamponi 
J. Chem. Phys. 138, 12A540 (2013) 

A note on weakly discontinuous dynamical transitions 
Silvio Franz, Giorgio Parisi, Federico Ricci-Tersenghi, Tommaso Rizzo, and Pierfrancesco Urbani 
J. Chem. Phys. 138, 064504 (2013)

Dimensional dependence of the Stokes–Einstein relation and its violation 
Benoit Charbonneau, Patrick Charbonneau, Yuliang Jin, Giorgio Parisi, and Francesco Zamponi 
J. Chem. Phys. 139, 164502 (2013)

Lennard-Jones binary mixture: A thermodynamical approach to glass transition 
Barbara Coluzzi, Giorgio Parisi, and Paolo Verrocchio 
J. Chem. Phys. 112, 2933 (2000)


Release: Nobel Prize Recognizes Physics of Complex Systems

APS News: 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics Awarded for Research in Complex Systems

Each article includes a list of papers in Physical Review Letters and Reviews of Modern Physics that APS has made free to read for a limited time.