Scientists Syukuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselmann and Giorgio Parisi won the 2021 Nobel Prize for Physics for their “groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of complex physical systems,” the award-giving body said on Tuesday.
“Complex systems are characterised by randomness and disorder and are difficult to understand,” the Swedish Academy of Sciences said in a statement. “This year’s Prize recognises new methods for describing them and predicting their long-term behaviour.”
Physics is the second Nobel to be awarded this week after Americans David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian won the prize for medicine on Monday for the discovery of receptors in the skin that sense temperature and touch.
The Nobel prizes were created in the will of Swedish dynamite inventor and businessman Alfred Nobel and have been awarded since 1901 with only a handful of interruptions, primarily due to the two world wars.
As last year, there will be no banquet in Stockholm because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The laureates will receive their medals and diplomas in their home countries.
The physics prize announcement will be followed in the coming days by the awards for chemistry, literature, peace and economics.
Among the Nobels, physics has often taken centre stage, with awards often going to major breakthroughs in our understanding of the universe. Previous winners include Albert Einstein and the husband-and-wife team of Pierre Curie and Marie Curie.
Last year, scientists Roger Penrose, Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez won the Nobel physics prize for their discoveries concerning black holes.