Press release: The Nobel Prize in Physics 2021:
5 October 2021
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Physics 2021
“for groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of complex physical systems”
with one half jointly to
Princeton University, USA
Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany
“for the physical modelling of Earth’s climate, quantifying variability and reliably predicting global warming”
and the other half to
Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
“for the discovery of the interplay of disorder and fluctuations in physical systems from atomic to planetary scales”
The climate and environment are critically important, as everyone knows from daily front page disasters that will increase.
I have a PhD in physics and have made sustainability my mission. I wish I didn’t have to as fixing problems past generations stuck us with isn’t my first passion, but I can’t change the past.
As important as the science was to get us here, we have to move to the next stage, which is leadership. I don’t mean just passing laws. Even prior to our twin problems of overconsumption and overpopulation, the damage we’re suffering is the physical manifestation of our values, especially material growth, extraction, efficiency, externalizing costs, and comfort and convenience. Technology, innovation, laws, and markets augment those values. As long as we hold them as a culture and individuals, we will innovate technologies, laws, and markets that exacerbate the problem.
I will always support more research and value these scientists’ work that enabled us to get past the science to restoring our values of stewardship: personal growth, enjoying what we have, humility to nature, resilience, responsibility for how our behavior affects others, meaning, purpose, and the satisfaction of a job well done. With those values, we will innovate solutions that increase Earth’s ability to sustain life.
Again, as important as the science is, we must restore our personal and cultural values to solve the problems science revealed. That’s leadership and teamwork. We can all act immediately. Since systemic change begins with personal transformation, the fastest, most effective way to change governments and corporations is to act here and now, learn from the experience, act more, and lead others to join.
On a related note, here are pictures of me holding podcast guest and now friend Seth Shelden‘s Nobel prize (his was in peace). He lives near me. One day I ran into him on Sixth Avenue and as we chatted, he shared that he had his Nobel Prize with him so he took it out for me to see.
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