The Nobel Prize in Physics, awarded today by the Swedish Academy of Sciences, has among its protagonists the Italian physicist Giorgio Parisi, 73 years old, who carried out one of the most outstanding works of his career together with the Argentine Miguel Angel Virasoro, among whose research of international relevance is the string theory and spin glass, the latter together with the award-winning with the highest award in science.
Parisi, born in Rome in 1948, is an internationally recognized physicist. I study in the University of Rome La Sapienza and he served as a teacher there and also at the University of Rome Tor Vergata See. Belongs to the Academy of Sciences of France, the National Academy of Lynxes (Italy) and since 2003 it was incorporated into the National Academy of Sciences of the United States. In this he coincided as a member with Virasoro. Then, in 2009, the Italian was added to the European Academy of Sciences.
In one of his most outstanding investigations discovered the ultrametric, organization of the low temperature states of the spin glass in infinite dimensions, together with Virasoro and the French Marc Mezard.
The Nobel Prize in Physics awarded today was divided in two. On the one hand, the Japanese meteorologist Syukuro Manabe and the German oceanographer Klaus Hasselmann, who were awarded “for the physical modeling of the Earth’s climate, the quantification of the variability and the reliable prediction of global warming”.
In turn, Parisi won the other half “for the discovery of the interaction of disorder and fluctuations in physical systems from the atomic to the planetary scale.”
In the 1980s, Parisi discovered hidden patterns in messy complex materials. His findings are one of the most important contributions to the theory of complex systems. They make it possible to understand and describe many different and seemingly totally random complex materials and phenomena, not only in physics but also in very different fields such as mathematics, biology, neuroscience and machine learning.
Parisi and Virasoro intertwined their careers in the 1980s working on spin glass when the Argentine was living in Europe. This study refers to a phase of certain magnetic materials in which the individual spins are “frozen” in a disordered state more energetic than the fundamental one, but they cannot return to it because a rearrangement of all the material would be necessary.
Virasoro, who was born in Buenos Aires on May 9, 1940 and died on July 23, was the son of the renowned philosopher Miguel Ángel Virasoro. I had studied at the National College of Buenos Aires and in 1958 he entered the Faculty of Exact Sciences of the University of Buenos Aires. When he was finishing his thesis, the dictatorship of Juan Carlos Onganía arrived and with it the so-called Noche de los Bastones Largos, in 1966. He was dean of the faculty where he studied, for a period of seven months, between May and December 1973, since the brief government of Héctor J. Cámpora began and for a few months of the third government of Juan Domingo Perón.
At this point he decided to emigrate and left for Israel invited to work at the Weizmann Institute. Then he also resided in Europe until in 2011 he decided to return to his country.
At that time he joined the National University of General Sarmiento where he put together the interdisciplinary program of Complex Systems and a collaboration with the National Water Institute to model the rivers of the Pampean region.
Virasoro dedicated his career to mathematical physics. In the 1960s and 1970s helped establish the foundations of string theory. During the early stages of these theories, When they were primarily interested as models of strong interactions, he investigated the relationship between description in terms of strings and in terms of fields. While trying to identify the spurious degrees of freedom of certain string models, he found the operators of the algebra that today bears his name, the Virasoro algebra, which later turned out to describe the symmetries of the world sheet of a string.
Later, it was when his career crossed with that of Parisi, well into the decade of the ’80s. The two collaborated to put together a decisive theory around spin glasses, a phase of certain magnetic materials in which individual spins are “frozen” in a disordered state more energetic than the fundamental one, but they cannot return to it because a rearrangement of all material.
In 2020, at the age of 80, Virasoro was awarded the Dirac Medal for his contributions to the mathematical foundations of string theory. He was also distinguished with the Rammal Medal and the Enrico Fermi Prize, which allows him to be characterized as one of the most outstanding physicists in Argentina.
In addition to conducting research at the University of Buenos Aires, he worked at the universities of Berkeley, Princeton and Turin and was director of the prominent International Center for Theoretical Physics in Trieste. When he died a little over two months ago, he was an honorary professor at the University of General Sarmiento.
He also coincided with Parisi as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Virasoro was also part of The World Academy of Science, the Latin American Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Exact and Natural Sciences of Argentina.
The award that Parisi received is the second of the season after that of medicine, which on Monday recognized two specialists in the nervous system and touch, the Americans David Julios and Ardem Patapoutian.
After the 2020 astronomy reconnaissance, experts saw well that the Swedish searchlights move away from space.
Last year, the award recognized Britain’s Roger Penrose, German Reinhard Genzel and American Andrea Ghez, pioneers of research on “black holes”, the regions of the universe from which nothing can be escaped.
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Who was the Argentine who investigated with the Nobel Prize in Physics Giorgio Parisi