68th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

From 24th til 29th of June the 68th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting was taking place in Lindau and I was very honoured to be allowed to participate and spend an amazing week with the famous Nobel Laureates, but also with 600 other Young Scientists from all over the world (84 nations were represented, to be precise).Under the motto “Educate -  Inspire – Connect” the meeting was filled with a variety of scientific and social events focusing on, of course, science, but also challenges in politics and society and led to partly very intense, but always open minded discussions between Laureates and Young Scientists.

left: At the "Bavarian Evening" everybody was invited to dress in their national traditional clothes.  
right: Michael Rosbash gave a super interesting presentation about his findings on circadian rhythm.

Unlike I expected, the week resembled less a real scientific conference, but more a real meeting of people who all share a mutual passion: science in all its shades. The beautiful and idyllic small city of Lindau, where the newly built meeting venue “Inselhalle” was literally on a peninsula, was the perfect setting for such an event.

Beautiful Lindau at the Bodensee
Although it was always embedded in a professional environment, everyone was encouraged to speak up freely and talk about topics, which they most care about or problems they face, even if they were not related to science at first sight. Especially the new format “Agora Talk”, where one Nobel Laureate was first giving a small presentation about a specific topic and the opened the discussion for all Young Scientists, was very interesting and encouraged to think outside the box. In particular, I enjoyed an Agora Talk with Sir Richard J. Roberts, who was awarded in 1993 with the Nobel Prize for his discovery of introns and gene splicing, and made a summation about Genetic Modification in crops and how they could save children from starvation in developing countries in opposite to the, in public often spread, criticism, fear and scepticism towards GMOs.

Especially important and exciting for me was my second day in Lindau, on which I was invited to participate as a panel member in the “Press Talk”. Together with Nobel Laureate Peter Agre and two more Young Scientists as well as moderator Alaina Levine, we were discussing health innovations in developing countries and replying to lots of questions from the roughly 50 attending international journalists. Since it was my first time in such a panel discussion, I was very excited and quite nervous before but felt in the end very comfortable in this round.

On the same day I also had an interview with Karsten Schwanke from ARD alpha, who produced a documentary about the Lindau Meeting within his format “SMS – Science meets Schwanke”. During the interview, where we mainly talked about my scientific work and feelings about the Lindau meeting, I was very lucky to be able to meet Stefan Hell, Nobel Prize winner from the year 2014 for his major improvement of fluorescence microscopy. I will always remember his advice, that it is most important to work with the right people who have the right motivation than to work in allegedly famous or big institutes or universities and that one should never work for awards or fame, but for the passion of science, because it is the only way to hold up motivation for long time and enjoy the work.
left: Karsten Schwanke, Stefan Hell and me after the interview
right: Press Talk about "Health Innovations in Developing Countries" 

The impressions and inspirations I received at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting are very valuable and a source of motivation probably for my whole scientific/medical career. I am very thankful for this time and would like to encourage everybody to apply for participation if possible. It is a great experience!


Press releases

Interview on ARD: https://www.br.de/mediathek/video/sms-schwanke-meets-science-extra-nobelpreistraeger-in-lindau-35-av:5b27c9acc5851c0018126b23

S├╝ddeutsche Zeitung: https://www.sueddeutsche.de/wissen/reportage-wissen-fuer-die-welt-1.4024385

L├╝becker Nachrichten from 4th of July 2018