Giorgio Parisi

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Giorgio Parisi
Parisi giorgio.jpg
Giorgio Parisi
Born (1948-08-04) August 4, 1948 (age 67)
Rome, Italy
Residence Rome, Italy
Nationality Italian
Fields physicist
Institutions Sapienza Università di Roma
Alma mater Sapienza Università di Roma
Notable students Enzo Marinari, Roberto Benzi, Guido Martinelli, Francesco Fucito, Zhang Yi-Cheng, Massimo Bernaschi, Raffaella Burioni, Giulia Iori, Romeo Brunetti, Federico Ricci-Tersenghi, Andrea Cavagna, Irene Giardina, Francesco Zamponi
Known for statistical mechanics, quantum field theory, spin glass, disordered systems, complexity
Notable awards Boltzmann Medal
Dirac Medal
Enrico Fermi Award
Microsoft Award
Lagrange Prize
Max Planck Medal

Giorgio Parisi (born August 4, 1948) is an Italian theoretical physicist. He is best known for his works concerning statistical mechanics, quantum field theory and various aspects of physics, mathematics and philosophy of science.

Giorgio Parisi's research focused mainly on disordered systems, in particular on spin glass theory. He suggested a crucial concept in spin glass theory, known as Parisi functional. Kardar–Parisi–Zhang equation, describing a behavior of a one-dimensional fluctuating string, is named after Parisi. He also found many applications of spin glass theory to optimization theory, biology and immunology. Giorgio Parisi has been awarded several honors; the Boltzmann Medal and the Dirac Medal. He is one of the two Italian physicists to be member of the American National Academy of Sciences.


Giorgio Parisi graduated in University of Rome La Sapienza in 1970, supervised by Nicola Cabibbo. He became a researcher at the Laboratori Nazionali di Frascati (1971–1981) while visiting Columbia University in New York (1973–1974), the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques (1976–1977), and the École Normale Supérieure (1977–1978). He got Professor ordinarius position in 1981 at University of Rome Tor Vergata, and in 1992 at University of Rome La Sapienza, where he actually teaches "Statistical mechanics and critical phenomena".


Giorgio Parisi, Professor at the University of Rome, is a theoretical physicist of exceptional depth and scope. He has contributed at the highest level to particle physics, computer science, fluid mechanics, theoretical immunology, etc. etc. Today we honor him for his outstanding contributions to statistical physics, and particularly to the theories of phase transitions and of disordered systems. Among these many contributions, I would specifically mention Parisi's early work in which he showed how conformal invariance can be used in a quantitative way to calculate critical exponents. He was also the first to really understand that one can derive critical exponents through expansions of the beta function at fixed dimensions, avoiding the convergence problems of the epsilon-expansion. The opened the way to the current best theoretical estimates of exponents. Another important achievement concerns the mapping of the branched polymer problem in d dimensions onto that of the Lee–Yang edge singularity on d − 2 dimensions. Most recently, Parisi's work on interfaces in disordered media and on the dynamics of growing interfaces has had a large impact on these fields. However, Parisi's deepest contribution concerns the solution of the Sherrington–Kirkpatrick mean field model for spin glasses. After the crisis caused by the unacceptable properties of the simple solutions, which used the "replication trick", Parisi proposed his replica symmetry breaking solution, which seems to be exact, although much more complex than anticipated. Later, Parisi and co-workers Mezard and Virasoro clarified greatly the physical meaning of the mysterious mathematics involved in this scheme, in terms of the probability distribution of overlaps and the ultrametric structure of the configuration space. This achievement forms one of the most important breakthroughs in the history of disordered systems. This discovery opened the doors to vast areas of application. e.g., in optimization problems and in neural network theories.The Boltzmann Medal for 1992 is hereby awarded to Giorgio Parisi for his fundamental contributions to statistical physics, and particularly for his solution of the mean field theory of spin glasses.[1]
Giorgio Parisi is distinguished for his original and deep contributions to many areas of physics ranging from the study of scaling violations in deep inelastic processes (Altarelli–Parisi equations), the proposal of the superconductor's flux confinement model as a mechanism for quark confinement, the use of supersymmetry in statistical classical systems, the introduction of multifractals in turbulence, the stochastic differential equation for growth models for random aggregation (the Kardar–Parisi–Zhang equation) and his groundbreaking analysis of the replica method that has permitted an important breakthrough in our understanding of glassy systems and has proved to be instrumental in the whole subject of Disordered Systems.
He has made outstanding contributions to elementary particle physics, quantum field theory and statistical mechanics, in particular to the theory of phase transitions and replica symmetry breaking for spin glasses. His approach of using computers to corroborate the conclusions of analytical proofs and to actively motivate further research has been of fundamental importance in his field.
  • Lagrange Prize, 2009. Awarded to scientists who have contributed most to the development of the science of complexity in various areas of knowledge.
“For developing a probabilistic field theory framework for the dynamics of quarks and gluons, enabling a quantitative understanding of high-energy collisions involving hadrons”.

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