Giorgio Parisi, Premio Nobel, curriculum scientifico

Giorgio Parisi was born in Rome August 4, 1948, he completed his studies at the
university of Rome and he graduated in physics in 1970 under the direction of Nicola
He carried out his research at the National Laboratories of Frascati, first as fellow
of the CNR (1971-1973) and later as a researcher of the INFN (1973-1981). During this
period he made long stays abroad: Columbia University, New York (1973-1974), Institut
des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques, Bures-sur-Yvettes (1976-1977), Ecole Normale
Superieure, Paris (1977-1978).
He was nominated full professor at the University of Rome in February 1981; from
1981 to 1992 he was a professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Rome Tor
Vergata. Currently (since 1992) is Professor of Theoretical Physics at University of
Rome La Sapienza.
He wrote more than six hundred articles and contributions to scientific conferences
and he has authored four books. In his scientific career, he worked mainly in theoretical
physics, addressing topics as diverse as particle physics, statistical mechanics, fluid
dynamics, condensed matter, the constructions of scientific computers. He also wrote
some papers on neural networks, immune system and the movement of groups of
His works are extremely well known. In the Google Scholar database
t_works) we can count about 700 works with more than 70.000 citations and a H-index
110. The text of the last 385 works can be found in the archives
In 1992 he was awarded the Boltzmann Medal (awarded every three years by
I.U.P.A.P. on Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics) for his contributions to the
theory of disordered systems and the Max Planck Medal in 2011, from the German
physical society.
He also received the Feltrinelli Prize for Physics in 1987, the Italgas Prize in 1993,
the Dirac Medal for theoretical physics in 1999, the Italian Prime Ministe Prize in 2002,
the Enrico Fermi Award in 2003, the Dannie Heineman Prize in 2005, the Nonino Prize
in 2005, the Galileo Prize in 2006, the Microsoft Prize in 2007, the Lagrange Prize in
2009, the Vittorio De Sica Prize in 2011, the Prix des Trois Physiciens in 2012, the
Nature Award for Mentoring in Science in 2013 and the 2015 High Energy and Particle
Physics Prize by the EPS HEPP Board, the Lars Onsager Prize in 2016.
He received in 2010 a first senior ERC grant and in 2016 a second senior ERC
He is a member of the Accademia dei Lincei, the Accademia dei Quaranta, the
Académie des Sciences, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the European Academy,
the Academia Europea and the American Philosophical Society.
Research highlights.
In his research career, Giorgio Parisi has given many seminal and widely
recognized contributions in different areas of physics that have been widely recognized.
Some of his most interesting contributions to physics are presented below. They are
divided into areas in spite of the fact that different subjects are strongly related and many
ideas came from experiences doner om the experience in other fields, as sometimes can
be seen from the names (e.g. quenched gauge theories, where the name quenched comes
from spin glasses).
Particle Physics
Giorgio Parisi started the phenomenological study of scaling violations in deep
inelastic electron scattering in a field theory framework: this study culminated in the
equations (with Altarelli) for the evolution of the parton densities. The Altarelli-Parisi
equations are at the basis of perturbative QCD computations in proton-proton collisions
that have been recently verified with very high accuracy at LHC, in the same
experiments where the Higgs have been discovered.
Giorgio Parisi has introduced the flux tube model of quark confinement based on
the analogy of magnetic confinement of monopoles in superconductors, that is the best
explanation of quark confinement.
With Brézin, Itzykson, Zuber Giorgio Parisi started the detailed study of the planar
diagram approximation in field theory. This approach has been the starting point of nonperturbative studies of quantum gravity in one dimensions. In this context, he has also
introduced and studied the one-dimensional supersymmetric string.
With Fucito, Hamber, Marinari and Rebbi, Giorgio Parisi started the study of
lattice gauge theories with Fermions, both in the quenched approximation and in the
unquenched case, introducing the first numerical method of Bosonization (i.e.
pseudofermions). Giorgio Parisi was one of the proponents and the scientific coordinator
of the APE Project, that was one of the first dedicated supercomputers for lattice gauge
General Statistical Physics
At the beginning of the 1970’s the field-theoretical renormalization group
approach to second order phase transitions was formulated only in 4-epsilon dimensions.
Giorgio Parisi presented a formulation of the renormalization group at fixed dimension,
both clarifying many fundamental aspects and paving the way to very accurate
determinations of the critical exponent in 3 dimensions.
With Sourlas Giorgio Parisi introduced the dimensional reduction that allows to
connect properties of some systems in dimensions D with those of other systems in
dimensions D-2.
Giorgio Parisi started the study of multifractals, (multifractals are a generalization
of fractals). With Benzi, Paladin and Vulpiani, he introduced the mechanism of
Stochastic Resonance. Both contributions had a very large influence.
New algorithms have been introduced to simulate the equilibrium behavior of
complex systems: the simulated tempering, that Giorgio Parisi invented with Marinari,
simulated tempering (with Marinari), that evolved into the parallel tempering algorithm
(which is now the state-of-the-art in the field).
Collective Animal Behavior
Giorgio Parisi and his collaborators have been recently the first ones to obtain data
on the three-dimensional behavior of large animal groups. They have measured the
three-dimensional positions of flocks of starlings. The number of birds simultaneously
observed was of the order of few thousands and this result extends previous
measurements of two orders of magnitude. The techniques developed open the
possibility of developing a quantitative study of the collective three-dimensional
behaviour of large animal groups.
Disordered Systems
In the framework of Anderson localization Giorgio Parisi introduced
(simultaneously and independently from Wegner) the symmetry group O(n|n), that has
been the starting point of most of later investigations.
With Kardar and Zhang, Giorgio Parisi introduced a model for growth of surfaces
in a random media (or in presence of a random deposition). The KPZ model became a
standard in this field. Very carefully planned recent experiments agree very well with the
theoretical predictions.
Many of his most original contributions are related to spin glasses, starting from
the analytic solution of the Sherrington-Kirkpatrick model, a model that became the
prototype of a physical complex system. In this case Giorgio Parisi introduced the
technique of breaking the replica symmetry was successfully introduced for the first
time. In the following years, this technique widely spread to many different research
areas (e.g. neural networks, optimization theory, glass physics). Giorgio Parisi also
found the physical interpretation of the solution, where two unexpected phenomena were
discovered: the fluctuations of intensive quantities and the ultrametricity. These results
have been rigorously proved after 30 years of effort by Talagrand (2003) and Panchenko
Giorgio Parisi also gave important contributions to the study of finite dimensional
spin glass systems. He obtained key results both for the equilibrium states and for the out
of equilibrium behavior. He gave a general argument for the validity of the Generalized
Fluctuation-Dissipation relation, conjectured by Cugliandolo and Kurchan: this relation
has been verified first in numerical simulations and later by Hérrison and Ocio in
experimental spin glass samples.
Giorgio Parisi obtained analytic results for matching, bipartite matching and
traveling salesman problems in the random case. Some of these results were rigorously
provend 15 years later by Aldous. He has also presented a conjecture on the average
minimum cost of bipartite matching over N elements. This conjecture was finally
provend, leading to very interesting mathematical developments in combinatorial
With Mézard, Giorgio Parisi started the study of the cavity approach on random
Bethe lattices that opened the possibility of solving a large number of models of wide
interest in combinatorial optimization. In particular, using these methods, it was possible
to compute exactly the threshold for satisfiability in the celebrated random K-Sat model.
The rigorous proof of these results has been obtained by Ding, Sly and Sun in 2015.
The previous analytic studies have prompted the development of new very fast
solving algorithms: the decimation method based on survey propagation (eventually with
backtracking) is much more efficient than other solving algorithms on random problems.
Very recently these methods have been successfully applied to the study of
compressing sensing, that is a very important theoretical problem with many practical
Structural Glasses
The replica theory developed by Giorgio Parisi it at the bases of the Random First
Order theory of structural glasses, that is one of the most promising theories of the glass
transition. Giorgio Parisi has strongly contributed to the development of this theory.
With Mézard, he has done a first-principles computation of the thermodynamical
behaviour in the glassy phase of soft spheres, thatspheres that has been later extended to
binary mixtures and hard spheres by him and Zamponi.
In 2012 he has developed a renormalization group approach to the study of the
glass transition that allows us to estimate the range of validity of the mean field
computations. As a consequence of these works, our understanding of the glass
transition is reaching the same quality of that of standard phases order transition.
In 2015 Giorgio Parisi and his collaborators have been able to define and to solve the
mean field theory for jamming of hard spheres by considering a hard spheres fluid in the
infinite dimensional limit. This hard spheres model can be solved when the space
dimension d goes to infinity using the replica symmetry breaking theory that was
developed by him in the eighties.
The results were fully unexpected:
• There is an unexpected phase transition at high pressure: the Gardner (Gross-KanterSompolinski) transition characterized by a divergence of the correlation time and by a
higher temperature phase where there are many ergodic components (replica symmetry
breaking). Stimulated by this work both numerical and experimental evidence (Seguin
Dauchot, 2016) has been found for this transition.
• In the infinite pressure limit we reach jamming. At the end of the day one finds that
the exponents that characterize jamming con be computed analytically, in very good
agreement with the results of the numerical simulations and of the experiments. For
example, the exponent γ (that control the distribution of the gaps between the spheres)
has analytically the value γ = 0.41269, to be compared to the expected value γ = 0.40 ±
.02. It is the first time that the exponents of a mean field theory are not simple rational
number. These exponents are in very good agreement with experiments (in dimensions 2
and 3) and with accurate numerical simulations in dimensions from 2 to 8.
These results have arisen a wide scientific interest, as proved by a recent large
grant from the Simons foundation to a collaboration (Cracking the Glass Transition) that
aims to elucidate aspects of this approach. Furthermore the paper The simplest model of
jamming (written with Silvio Franz) has been chosen as one of three winners of
the Journal of Physics A Best Paper Prize in 2017.

Angolo delle idee