The Nobel Prize
Every year since 1901 the Nobel Prize has been awarded to those men and women who have “conferred the greatest benefit to mankind” (from the will of Alfred Nobel) through ground-breaking discoveries, inventions or improvements in physics, chemistry, and physiology or medicine, through outstanding literature and through their commitment for peace.
The Nobel Prize is an international award administered by the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden. Its founder, the Swedish scientist, inventor, entrepreneur, author and pacifist Alfred Nobel, had laid down in his will that much of his wealth should be used to establish the prize. It consists of a medal, a personal diploma, and a cash award.
In 1968, Sveriges Riksbank established The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel which is often referred to as the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, the sixth discipline.
Find out more about the Nobel Prize, about Alfred Nobel and about the selection of Laureates on the official website of the Nobel Prize, www.nobelprize.org!
The Laureates and Lindau
For many Laureates, the Nobel Prize means more than recognition of their scientific achievements. It is also perceived as an appeal to educate, inspire and motivate talented young scientists.
Carl Peter Dam, Hans von Euler-Chelpin, Paul Müller, William Murphy, Adolf Butenandt, Gerhard Domagk and Otto Warburg from Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States, and Germany were the first Nobel Laureates to attend the first Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in 1951. This congress of physicians provided a significant impulse to the reestablishment of contacts between scientists after World War II.
The Laureates followed the invitation of the two Lindau physicians and city councillors Franz Karl Hein and Gustav Parade, and Count Lennart Bernadotte, the owner of nearby Mainau Island on Lake Constance. He emerged as the spiritus rector of the Lindau Meetings. As member of the Swedish Royal Family, Count Bernadotte had excellent relations to the Nobel Prize awarding institutions in Stockholm. In fact, the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings still benefit of the commitment of the Bernadotte family. After the long presidency of Count Lennart, his wife Countess Sonja became President of the Council for the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings in 1987. Their daughter, Countess Bettina Bernadotte af Wisborg, continued the family tradition and holds the presidency since 2008. (Read more on the history of the meetings)
Ever since their establishment, the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings have evolved into an international forum for scientific debates on issues of global importance, and have gained many supporters around the world. For the paramount part, the success of the Lindau Meetings is based on the participation and dedication of Nobel Laureates.
Unlike most common scientific conferences, the Lindau Meetings do not preset their scientific programme - they aligne it to the topical preferences of the participating Nobel Laureates. As a result, the Lindau Meetings provide the unique opportunity to experience both the professional and personal side of Nobel Laureates.
The Lindau Dialogue between scientists of different generations illustrates the importance of role models and mentors. For young researchers who stand at the beginning of their careers, it is a valuable opportunity to meet the luminaries of their discipline, to seek their advice in special technical issues or in personal matters, to exchange thoughts and views, and to discuss current developments in science and the world.
The Founders Assembly of the Foundation Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings embraces more than 270 Laureates – all dedicated to further advance the “Mission Education” of the Lindau Meetings.
Over 60 years of Nobel Laureate Lectures
The Lindau Meetings have been carefully documented since their establishment in 1951. Apart from the archive of historic photos, films and audio recordings of the lectures held at the meetings are the most valuable treasures piled up through the history. Together with text abstracts and background information, these media are made accessible online free of charge in the Lindau Mediatheque to give a comprehensive account of over 60 years of Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings.
The mediatheque – dubbed “digital treasure trove” by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) – represents one of the most extensive collections of top-level scientific lectures and probably the world’s largest accumulation of lectures held by Nobel Laureates.
Engagement Beyond Lindau
The leitmotif of the Lindau Meetings – “Educate. Inspire. Connect.” – not only applies to the meetings, it also determines the social commitment of the council and the foundation. Numerous projects convey the fascination of science and research, provide food for thought and stimulate public debates. And they would not be possible without the engagement of Nobel Laureates.
Find out more about the photography art projects “NOBELS - Nobel Laureates photographed by Peter Badge” and “Sketches of Science: Photo Sessions with Nobel Laureates” as well as the science communication project “Nobel Labs 360°”.
The executive secretariat of the Council for the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings and the Foundation Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings maintain contact and relations with Nobel Laureates around the world to pursue the organisational management of the annual meetings and the diverse projects in the realm of the "Mission Education".
Managing Director and Member of the Executive Board
of the Foundation & Treasurer of the Council
Phone: +49 (0) 8382 277 3123
Fax: +49 (0) 8382 277 3122
While it may not be apparent what such interactions yield in the short term, each interaction has the potential of lighting a match to a candle, of igniting young minds in ways that can change the face of the earth.
The Nobel Laureates and young researchers who met in Lindau in 2012 came from all over the world, but they had one thing in common: physics. Nature filmed five debates on issues that matter to the current generation of researchers. Is dark matter real? How can we solve the looming energy crisis? How is physics perceived by the public? Watch the trailer for a taste of the discussions and disagreements that emerged, and view the whole collection here.
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