news highlights

Giorgio Parisi awarded the Wolf Prize 2021

Parisi is an ICTP Dirac Medallist

Giorgio Parisi awarded the Wolf Prize 2021
Giorgio Parisi awarded the Wolf Prize 2021

16/02/2021 - Trieste

Giorgio Parisi has been awarded the prestigious Wolf Prize “for ground-breaking discoveries in disordered systems, particle physics and statistical physics.” He is a professor of theoretical physics at the University of Rome "La Sapienza", where his research has focused on quantum field theory, statistical mechanics, and complex systems.

Parisi has been recognized by the Wolf foundation “for being one of the most creative and influential theoretical physicists in recent decades. […] Parisi’s work was indispensable in analyzing the fundamental structure of matter at the smallest possible distance scale done through high-energy scattering of elementary particles. His results have served in preparing and analyzing the experiments performed at the Large-Hardon-Collider (LHC), for dark matter searches, and are used today in the planning experiments for the Future Circular Collider.” The full citation is available here.

The Wolf Prize has been awarded since 1978 to “outstanding scientists and artists from around the world, (regardless of nationality, race, colour, religion, sex or political views) for achievements in the interest of mankind and friendly relations among peoples.” Wolf Prize laureates include internationally renowned scientists such as Stephen Hawking and Peter Higgs.

“I am extremely pleased to have received the Wolf Prize, as an Italian who lives and works in Italy,” says Parisi. “A recognition of this kind is also a collective award that extends to a whole community. The credit goes also to many of my collaborators, with whom we had fun trying to reveal the mysteries of nature, in particular Guido Altarelli and Nicolas Sourlas who were also mentioned in the citation. I am extremely happy and honoured not only for being in good and very prestigious company, in which I find many friends, but also for having been put in direct connection with Ricardo Wolf, a person who I admire very much for his scientific skills as an industrial chemist and for the great civil commitment he has had throughout his life.”

Parisi has received many awards throughout his career, including ICTP’s Dirac Medal in 1999, recognizing his original and deep contributions to many areas of physics ranging from the study of scaling violations in deep inelastic processes (Altarelli-Parisi equations), the proposal of the superconductor's flux confinement model as a mechanism for quark confinement, the use of supersymmetry in statistical classical systems, the introduction of multifractals in turbulence, the stochastic differential equation for growth models for random aggregation (the Kardar-Parisi-Zhang model) and his ground-breaking analysis of the replica method that has permitted an important breakthrough in our understanding of glassy systems and has proved to be instrumental in the whole subject of Disordered Systems.

He is also the president of the Accademia dei Lincei, a centuries-old Italian academy of sciences, and is now a member of ICTP’s Dirac Medal Selection Committee.

“Awards are important not only for the great satisfaction that they give in receiving them, but most importantly because they are a showcase in which science shows its best pieces to the public opinion,” says Parisi. “The purpose of an award goes far beyond the celebration of the great value of the winners, and their ability to leave a lasting footprint in science, culture and society. A prize aims first of all at presenting a scale of values, to affirm in front of the whole world what activities must be pursued and are worthy of being rewarded; it is a public stance on what is important for our development as human beings.”