Parisi won the award for his work in a wide number of fields. The official citation highlights "his study of scaling violations in deep inelastic processes (Altarelli-Parisi equations), a model that links supersymmetry and superconductors together, the introduction of multifractals equations into turbulence studies, the stochastic differential equation for growth models for random aggregation (the Kardar-Parisi-Zhang model) 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."

Parisi graduated from Rome University in 1970 and worked as a researcher at the National Laboratories in Frascati, Italy, until 1981. Since then he has been a professor of physics at Rome University and at the universities of Rome I and II. He has also taught in the US and France. In 1986 he received the Feltrinelli prize for physics and was awarded the Boltzman medal in 1992 and the Italgas prize in 1993. Parisi is a fellow of both the Accademia dei Lincei and the French Academy.