Nobel Prize winner Peter Agre from USA (right) and ECN / ENB student Natalie Izurieta.

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Noble Lindau! A Report from the 61st Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau

August 11, 2011

Nobel Prize winner Robert Huber and young researchers

Nobel Prize winner Robert Huber from Munich, Germany (4th from right, front row)
and young researchers at 61st Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau.

It was a great honor for me to participate in the “61st Nobel Laureate Meeting” dedicated to physiology/medicine which took place in Lindau, from 26th June to 2nd July. This meeting provided an environment for exchanging knowledge, experiences and ideas between 23 Nobel laureates and 567 young researchers from 77 countries. The goals of the meeting “educate - inspire - connect” were accomplished through several academic and social activities.

I started the week with a “science breakfast” on a boat at the Lindau harbor. Once on board Nobel laureate Peter Agre and young researchers started a panel discussion with the topic “one world, one health”. Every morning I attended the plenary lectures, regarding different topics including neuroscience. Some Nobel laureates presented lectures on their scientific work. For instance, Erwin Neher gave a lecture on ”signals and signaling mechanisms in the central nervous system”. Other Nobel laureates chose a more informal style and were talking about personal experiences in their scienctific daily life work. Oliver Smithies showed us pages of his lab notebooks. He explained how he invented gel electrophoresis and built up a homemade PCR machine. Every day after lunch we had “parallel discussions”. This means that we had the chance to meet with our favorite morning lecturer in a relative small group to discuss with them their research and life experiences.

Nobel Prize winner Peter Agre and ECN / ENB student Natalie Izurieta

Nobel Prize winner Peter Agre from USA (right) and ECN / ENB student Natalie Izurieta.

For the entire week, I had the opportunity to meet many young researchers from all around the world and very different scientific backgrounds. During the afternoon breaks I met with some new friends for visiting the Picasso exhibition in the city museum or swimming in the lake or simply walking around the city.

Every evening we had a dinner event. On monday it was a “get-together” dinner with live music. I was lucky of share the table with Harold Kroto, who won the Nobel prize for the “buckyball” - the spherical form of C60. On tuesday evening, I was invited by the “Elite Network of Bavaria” (ENB) for a dinner with the Nobel laureate Robert Huber together with his wife and other 14 young researchers from the ENB. We found out that Huber was born in Munich. During the Bavarian evening on thursday, he surprised everyone when he did his speech wearing a “Tracht”, the traditional Bavarian costume. The Bavarian evening was organized by the ENB. They offered a Bavarian dinner buffet and traditional Bavarian music and dance. On friday evening, we enjoyed the concert of the “Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra” at the city theater.

On our last day, we had a boat trip to Mainau, where the closing panel discussion on "global health" took place. After lunch, we attended the exhibition “discoveries 2011: health”, which consisted of 18 pavilions with interactive exhibitions of key issues in health and medical research. On our way back to Lindau, we enjoyed live music on the boat. Back at the Lindau harbor, there was an emotional farewell. The last “good bye” to those who were leaving the island that day. Fortunately, I could meet up with some that still remained until the next day.

Winning a Nobel prize is a dream for many, but sometimes it seems to be just a dream. Meeting and interacting with the Nobel Laureates and hearing about their work and personal experiences helped me to see them as real people. Moreover, it was also wonderful to meet so many young researchers from all over the world. Interdisciplinary work is the basis of research nowadays and in this meeting I had the opportunity to exchange ideas and built networks for the future. The Nobel Laureates Meeting in Lindau was an invaluable opportunity of great inspiration for my personal and professional development.

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