Professor Giorgio Parisi
University of Roma I ‘‘La Sapienza’’
The 2021 Wolf prize in Physics is awarded to Giorgio Parisi for ground-breaking discoveries in disordered systems, particle physics and statistical physics.
Giorgio Parisi, Professor of theoretical physics at the University of
Roma I, ‘‘La Sapienza,’’
whose research has focused on quantum field theory, statistical mechanics, and
father and grandfather were both construction workers, and the young Parisi was
encouraged to become an engineer. Instead, Parisi was drawn to the complicated
abstractions he read in books of popular science, science fiction and mathematics and
wanted to do something that involved research. Parisi
was torn between majoring in physics and mathematics. He attracted by the
adventurous nature of research and sees physics as the terrain on which to play
his intellectual challenge at the highest level. Parisi graduated in physics in
1970 in the shortest possible time, under the direction of Nicola Cabibbo. Parisi’s achievements span many
areas of modern physics and even the field of
biological models. He is author of many books, articles and ideas that have
opened up new areas of research.
The Wolf Prize
in Physics is awarded to Giorgio Parisi for being
one of the most creative and influential theoretical physicists in recent
decades. His work has a large impact on diverse branches of physical sciences,
spanning the areas of particle physics, critical phenomena, disordered systems
as well as optimization theory and mathematical physics. In 1977 together with
Altarelli, Parisi discovered the evolution equations allowing to accurately
formulating how quarks and gluons are distributed inside the proton and nuclei
(they were discovered independently by Yu. L. Dokshitzer). 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.
another series of seminal works from 1979-84, Parisi introduced the concept of
replica symmetry breaking and applied it to models of “spin-glasses” (the
Sherrington-Kirkpatrick model), where no simple order parameter exists. His
remarkable intuition led him to the discovery of the non-ergodic nature of the
frustrated spin-glass phase, where many pure states unrelated by symmetry
coexist, with a highly non-trivial ultra-metric structure. Parisi’s suggestion
of a new organization of matter has led to a paradigm shift in statistical
physics, and many applications followed in other disordered systems such as
structural glasses, neural networks, and combinatorial optimization theory.
His highly innovative work (with Sourlas) in studying classical phase transitions has led to the possibility to identify the actual realization of a symmetry called supersymmetry in condensed matter systems.