When Syukuro “Suki” Manabe began his career as a researcher in the middle of the last century, he had no idea his work would eventually be seen as laying the foundation for the modern science of climate modeling.

Instead, the 90-year-old says he was simply driven by curiosity.

On Tuesday, that curiosity was rewarded with a Nobel Prize in physics, which Manabe, a senior meteorologist at Princeton University, shared with two other scientists.