The Nobel Prize in Physics goes to climate models and structures in complex materials

Van Dyck said Manabe and Haselman have received awards for their work on climate, while Parisi’s work is more in the field of basic statistical physics.

Thank you Manabi Van Dyck said he had been working in the field of climate since the 1960s and was the first to show the importance of the composition of the atmosphere in the radiative balance of the Earth, that is, the transmission of light from the sun and the reflection of heat.

So he was the first to shed light on the role of the greenhouse effect, whereby increasing levels of carbon dioxide lead to global warming, and he also created physical models to explain the radiative balance mathematically and test his theory.

Klaus Haselmann His work began later, in the seventies and eighties. If one wants to predict what will happen in a 10, 20, 30 year period, Van Dijk said, of course, they try to make a reliable climate model.

When we make decisions today about what to do by 2050, it is based on climate models that have a certain reliability, but the weather itself is completely unreliable, and it is not yet possible to predict the weather within 14 days. The atmosphere is chaotic, and as they say “I moved a stone in a river on the earth”, you do one small thing and that changes the whole sequel, as well as the weather. As they say, the flight of a butterfly can change the weather within 14 days if amplification occurs due to other factors.

What Haselman did was actually filter out a climate model from those weather forecasts, so that the differences would disappear. He excluded the long-term effect from the short-term differences. A mathematical model has also been made for this, Van Dyck said, which allows for temperature predictions if the necessary inputs are given.

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Furthermore, Haselman also entered the effect of humans into the model, that is, the effect of humans on carbon dioxide, the effect of carbon dioxide on the climate model, and long-term temperature increase.

What is also clear from the model is that not only will the temperature rise, but the number of abnormal phenomena, such as severe storms, will also increase. Not that these are predictable, van Dijk said, as one can say what will happen this year, but that such extreme weather situations will happen more and more often.

According to Van Dyck, the Nobel Committee also wanted to make a political statement by awarding a prize to climate scientists and indirectly recognizing Greta Thunberg and climate action.

Giorgio Baresi, the third winner, has more to do with the theoretical basis, but you shouldn’t underestimate it, it’s real world mansaid Van Dyck, a world man.

In the 1970s he began investigating a then-unsolved problem, called spin glasses, related to turbulence in materials, in crystal structures.

He found solutions to this that are now used not only for elementary particles in solids, but also for the behavior of birds in flocks, social networks and even the periodic occurrence of ice ages. Van Dyck said that thanks to a kind of universal technology that Parisi developed to see simple patterns within complex systems, many problems can now be solved.

These patterns are universally valid, so just because they occur in a crystal does not mean that they do not occur in nature, in fish populations, in polymers and proteins, for example. There are many applications because it contains a class of systems that previously could not be solved and can now be solved thanks to Parisi. Van Dyck concluded that this provides tremendous added value to science.

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Denton Watson

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