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Press release | 11-02-2021


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@ Barbara Sabatini - Press office Sapienza

The ERC-funded researcher Giorgio Parisi had received the Wolf Prize 2021 in Physics for his ground-breaking discoveries in disordered systems, particle physics, and statistical physics. 

The Wolf Foundation awarded Giorgio Parisi for “being one of the most creative and influential theoretical physicists in recent decades”. According to the foundation, his work had a large impact on different parts of physical sciences, ranging from particle physics, critical phenomena, disordered systems as well as optimization theory and mathematical physics. 

The international Wolf Prize, consisting of a certificate and monetary award of $100,000, is given to outstanding scientists and artists for achievements in the interest of mankind and friendly relations among peoples. The prize in physics has gained a reputation for identifying future winners of the Nobel Prize – from the 26 prizes awarded between 1978 and 2010, fourteen winners have gone on to win the Nobel Prize, five of those in the following year. 

To date, Prof. Parisi has received two Advanced Grants from the European Research Council (ERC), in 2010 and 2016 respectively. Using his first ERC grant, worth 2 million euro, he aimed to get a theoretical understanding of the most important large-scale phenomena in classical and quantum disordered systems. With his current ongoing Advanced Grant, worth 1.7 million euro, Prof. Parisi wants to develop a theory of the large-scale properties of the free energy landscape of glasses at low temperature. Giorgio Parisi is Professor of theoretical physics at the University of Roma I, ‘‘La Sapienza,’’ and his research subjects cover quantum field theory, statistical mechanics, and complex systems. 

Wolf Prizes won by ERC grantees

Prof. Parisi is the ninth ERC grantee to be awarded the prestigious Wolf Prize. In 2010, Professors Alain Aspect and Anton Zeilinger won the prize for Physics, while Prof. David Baulcombe received the Agriculture prize. In 2013, Prof. Peter Zoller won the prize for Physics and, in 2014, Leif Andersson was distinguished with the Agriculture prize. The 2019 Mathematics prize went to Prof. Jean-Francois Le Gall and in 2020, Prof. Caroline Dean won the prize for Agriculture while Prof. Simon Donaldson received the Mathematics prize. Several other ERC grantees were awarded the Wolf prize before they were funded by the ERC.

About the ERC

The European Research Council, set up by the European Union in 2007, is the premiere European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. The ERC is led by an independent governing body, the Scientific Council. The ERC President is Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon. The overall ERC budget from 2014 to 2020 was more than €13 billion, as part of the Horizon 2020 programme, for which the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, is responsible.