January 27, 2022

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Parisian Nobel, Here’s The Crazy Theory That Changed Science – Physics & Mathematics

“Crazy” theory: At today’s online Nobel conference, Giorgio Baresi outlined the theory he developed in 1979 and which for the first time established the rules that allow us to study in a large number of complex systems, and which today are also applied in the most diverse fields, from physics To biology, to artificial intelligence.

The teleconference was recorded due to the pandemic, and was broadcast this morning on the Nobel Foundation website. With its simplicity, but in a language that is sometimes technically dictated by circumstances, Parisi told the story of the search for complexity as a bumpy road: the challenge was to find a way to orient oneself in relation to physical models described as “undulating landscapes”, made up of mountains and deep valleys. The road is known today as the “Parisi theorem” or “the theory of multiple equilibriums”, as the Nobel laureate preferred to call it in his lecture.

He made it clear in 1979, “having repeated the calculations countless times,” but only three years later did it become clear to Parisi the profound significance of his findings in physics. Then it turned out that his theory had a real “abundance” of possible applications.

Only twenty years later, “mathematicians came to the rescue”, conclusively proving that Paris’s theorem was correct. The applications outside of physics are more numerous and varied: from artificial neural networks to learning, and even neurobiology and computer science.


The names of 317 researchers with whom Baresi collaborated and thanked them in the Nobel lecture (Source: Giorgio Baresi)

It was a difficult road, Parisi traveled, accompanied by 317 colleagues, who thanked each person in the photo with all their names, the dimensions of which correspond to the number of works written in collaboration. Among all these, the name of the theoretical physicist Enzo Marineri stands out, who together with Parisi wrote more than a hundred scientific papers and presented the Nobel research at the award ceremony held on December 6 at the Sapienza University in Rome.

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