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Italian physicist is trying to make science more accessible to everyone: 'lack of trust in science'

The physicist who plans to make this complex branch of science accessible to all is set to release his new book in July 2023.

Italian physicist is trying to make science more accessible to everyone: 'lack of trust in science'
Image Source: Italian scholar and physicist Giorgio Parisi attends a press conference at the "La Sapienza" University, after co-winning the Nobel Physics Prize, on October 5, 2021 in Rome, Italy — Getty Images | Antonio Masiello

Physics has always been complex for people who consider science to be a stressful subject in general. However, Italian theoretical physicist and Nobel Prize winner Giorgio Parisi has somehow managed to tackle this complex branch of science into a book, reportedly making science accessible to all, per The Guardian. The 74-year-old Sapienza University physics graduate is currently a professor of quantum theories at the same university.

Image Source: Italian scholar and physicist Giorgio Parisi attends a press conference at the
Image Source: Italian scholar and physicist Giorgio Parisi attends a press conference at the "La Sapienza" University, after co-winning the Nobel Physics Prize, on October 5, 2021, in Rome, Italy — Getty Images | Antonio Masiello

Parisi is widely known for his work on "spin glasses" or disordered magnetic states which contributes to the theory of complex systems in physics. For his contribution to scientific research, Parisi was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2021 along with Klaus Hasselmann and Syukuro Manabe. The physicist is set to release his first book, titled "In a Flight of Starlings: The Wonders of Complex Systems," which will be out on July 11, 2023. In an interview with the outlet, Parisi revealed that he has always been fascinated with numbers since he was a kid.

Image Source: Antonio Masiello
Image Source: Italian scholar and physicist Giorgio Parisi attends a press conference at "La Sapienza" University, after co-winning the Nobel Physics Prize, on October 5, 2021, in Rome, Italy — Getty Images | Antonio Masiello

"The original idea was to describe how science is done. There's a growing lack of trust in science, with people denying Covid, the need for vaccinations, or climate change. In order to address this, it is very important to show how scientists do their work," Parisi said when asked about his motive behind writing the book. He continued by saying that it is "important to write about science using metaphorical language."

He further added, "Sometimes, in popular science books, people write formulae. That would save a lot of time, but I would lose a lot of people because a formula that seems easy for me to read is harder for other people. So trying to describe some complex and sophisticated physics problem without formulae takes real effort."



 

Parisi started his book by writing a study about the murmurations of starlings. He wanted to see if there were any "rules of interaction between starlings that account for their collective movements." "In Rome in the winter, every evening we see starlings flocking above the trees, forming these amazing patterns. One of the problems was to understand the three-dimensional shape of the flock, which is impossible to capture from a single viewpoint," he said about the challenges he faced with his team.

 Image Source: Getty Images | Antonio Masiello
Image Source: Italian scholar and physicist Giorgio Parisi attends a press conference at "La Sapienza" University, after co-winning the Nobel Physics Prize, on October 5, 2021, in Rome, Italy — Getty Images | Antonio Masiello

"When the flock was turning, the impression that one has is that they are turning as a flock, but the reality is that some birds start to turn in advance and the others follow. We were able to get the acceleration of each bird and to see that some birds start to accelerate or turn in one direction and other birds follow and that this decision was propagating inside the flock. The flatter the object, the more it gives you an impression of change when it changes orientation," Parisi continued.

He also shared his concerns about AI and believes it requires some regulation. "Images produced by AI should have some kind of signature so that people can understand if they are real or fake, to prevent us from losing contact with reality," he said. Parisi has also made a name for himself and created quite a stir in his country after claiming to have found an energy-efficient way to make pasta where all we need to do is turn the heat off and put the lid on two minutes after adding the pasta to boiling water. Though he later clarified that he just reshared an interesting idea he found on Facebook.



 

Parisi's big win in 2021 has made a few changes for him as he continues to stay busy running the Accademia dei Lincei, working at the university and being occupied with countless interviews over Zoom. "Yes, a lot. Italy has a few Nobel laureates, but all of them live outside Italy apart from me. And therefore, if for any reason whatsoever, someone needs a comment from a Nobel laureate, they ask me," he concluded. Here is to all of us looking forward to an era where science is simplified.

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