Please find a selection of news and press releases on the Lindau Meetings, on the activities of the council and the foundation, as well as on outreach projects here. Further information will be provided upon request.
Press Release, 7 December 2015
72 Nobel Laureates Appeal for Climate Protection
72 Nobel Laureates Appeal for Climate Protection
72 recipients of the Nobel Prize urgently warn of the consequences of climate change. They support a declaration that was handed over to the President of the Republic of France, François Hollande, at the Élysée Palace in Paris today by the French Nobel Laureates in Physics Serge Haroche and Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, together with Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Germany. The “Mainau Declaration 2015 on Climate Change” states “that the nations of the world must take the opportunity at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris to take decisive action to limit future global emissions.” The declaration was first presented on the occasion of the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting on Mainau Island in Lake Constance, Germany, on Friday, 3 July 2015. Back then it was signed by 36 Nobel Laureates. Since, 36 additional laureates joined the group of supporters.
“If left unchecked, our ever-increasing demand for food, water, and energy will eventually overwhelm the Earth’s ability to satisfy humanity’s needs, and will lead to wholesale human tragedy,” the declaration reads. It states that although more data needs to be analysed and further research has to be done, the Fifth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) still represents the most reliable scientific assessment on man-made climate change, and that it should therefore be used as a foundation upon which policymakers should discuss actions to oppose this global threat.
The initiators emphasised that they were not experts in climate research but rather a diverse group of scientists who had a deep respect for and understanding of the integrity of the scientific process. The signatories of the declaration have all been awarded Nobel Prizes in Physiology or Medicine, Physics, or Chemistry, except Indian children’s rights activist Kailash Satyarthi, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate of 2014.
“Some of the brightest minds of our planet, the Nobel Laureates, are highlighting what they deem to be one of the greatest challenges of our times: climate change,” says Schellnhuber. He initiated a symposia series carrying the titel “A Noble Cause” a few years ago to direct Nobel Laureates’ attention to global sustainability issues. Two of the participants of the most recent symposium in Hong Kong this April brought the idea of a Nobel Laureates’ climate statement to the longer-running and broader Lindau Meeting and have been gathering support for it amongst fellow Nobel Laureates since then.
The term Mainau Declaration has become the designation for socio-political appeals by Nobel Laureates who participated in the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, the annual gathering with young scientists at the German town of Lindau. The name denotes that these declarations were presented on nearby Mainau Island in Lake Constance, Germany, the traditional venue of the last day of the one-week meeting.
The first Mainau Declaration was an appeal against the use of nuclear weapons. Initiated and drafted by the Nobel Prize-winning German nuclear scientists Otto Hahn and Max Born, it was circulated at the 5th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting (11-15 July 1955) and presented on Mainau Island on 15 July 1955. The declaration was initially signed by 18 Nobel Laureates. Within a year, the number of supporters rose to 52 Nobel Laureates.
The annual Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting fosters the exchange among scientists of different generations, cultures, and disciplines. Every year, Nobel Laureates convene at Lindau to meet the next generation of leading scientists: 400 to 650 undergraduates, PhD students, and post-doc researchers from approximately 90 countries. The meeting focusses alternately on physiology and medicine, on physics, and on chemistry – the three scientific Nobel Prize disciplines. An interdisciplinary meeting revolving around all three natural sciences is held every five years. In addition, the Lindau Meetings on Economic Sciences are held every three years. The Lindau Meetings were founded in 1951 by Count Lennart Bernadotte af Wisborg, member of the Swedish Royal Family, and the Lindau city councillors Franz Karl Hein and Gustav Wilhelm Parade.
Mainau Declaration 2015 on Climate Change – Official website
Press Release, 1 July 2015
Africa’s perspectives – Young researchers call for more international research partnerships
Africa’s perspectives – Young researchers call for more international research partnerships
When Africa is mentioned, one would think of disasters, crises, wars, diseases – basically of a troubled continent. But this year’s Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting proves that this is at least an incomplete picture. 35 of the total 650 participating young scientists stem from Africa – more than at any previous meeting. They come from 14 of the 54 African countries. When talking to these young scientists, one thing becomes evident: There is much to discover, many prejudices to be revised.
In the past decade, the number of scientific publications from African scientists tripled. According to the renowned scientific journal Nature, the scientists from Africa published approximately as much as the researchers in the Netherlands. Meanwhile, about 1.5 per cent of all scientific publications come from Africa, a continent that is larger than the USA, China, India, Japan and Europe combined. And that is as varied as the countries mentioned. Both, the Young Scientists from Africa, as well as, for example, the French Nobel Prize winner Françoise Barré-Sinoussi acknowledge this: “You cannot simply define a research focus for the whole of Africa,” says the scientist who conducts research in collaboration with colleagues from numerous African countries. There would not be the one right program for Africa. Even the AESA program (Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa), which was launched recently and supported by the Wellcome Trust (London, UK), the UK Department for International Development and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Seattle, Washington, USA) with 4,5 million $ should be aligned regionally. “I would create special programs for South, West, North and East Africa,” says Serge Alain Fobofou Tanemossu, a young chemist from Cameroon, as there are similar scientific challenges in all of these regions.
The AESA programme aims at improving the working conditions of scientists in Africa, putting the decision on research into local hands and curbing the brain drain. “First of all, we need reliable power supply, so that we do not always have to fear for our laboratory samples,” Melinda Barkhuizen, a neuroscientist from South Africa, says with a giggle. “And then there is a need for more competitive research infrastructure such as high-tech laboratories.” Africa has a lot of talented young scientists, “but there is a lack of opportunities for scientific research that is adequately funded and operational on an international level,” says Prosper Ngabonziza. He originates from Rwanda, where he acquired his Bachelor’s degree before moving to South Africa for his Master’s degree and then to the Netherlands for his doctorate in experimental physics.
The research landscape in Africa is primarily focused on health research and agriculture. Yet, it is the basic research African science needs to lay the foundation for further scientific progress in the various disciplines leading to innovations “Made in Africa”, the young scientists say. This is another reason for fair partnerships between African and European or American research institutions being absolutely necessary. Cooperation on par, as pursued by US Nobel Laureate Peter Agre who does research on malaria in different African countries such as Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Congo and Mozambique, should be normal.
In Lindau, 35 young scientists from Africa make new contacts until Friday. Nine of them are from South Africa, four each from Egypt and Cameroon, three each from Ghana and Mauritius, two each from Botswana, Nigeria and Zimbabwe, and one each from Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Sudan and Uganda. The participation of six of these young scientists is financed by the academic partners of the Lindau Meeting, like the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Department of Science and Technology of South Africa, and the World Academy of Science, as well as Nobel Laureate Peter Agre. 29 young scientists were invited due to a new initiative of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings. This is funded by the Robert Bosch Foundation and is under the patronage of the former Federal President Horst Köhler. The “Horst Köhler Fellowship Programme” is to be significantly expanded in the coming years, supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Through this, the prophecy that German Nobel Laureate Hartmut Michel expressed during the conference might become a reality: that in 2025, the 75th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting will welcome an African scientist who has been awarded the Nobel Prize for his scientific achievements in Africa.
Press Release, 30 June 2015
Nobel Laureate Meeting builds bridges between disciplines - focus on interdisciplinarity
Nobel Laureate Meeting builds bridges between disciplines – focus on interdisciplinarity
When Nobel laureates give an insight into their laboratories, one thing becomes obvious: They are working in multidisciplinary and multicultural research teams. Is interdisciplinarity thus a formula for gaining the Nobel Prize? This was denied by all five Nobel laureates who took part in yesterday’s panel discussion entitled “The Quest for Interdisciplinarity” at the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. Eric Betzig, Martin Chalfie, Steven Chu, Stefan Hell and William Moerner shared the experience that interdisciplinarity in the natural sciences was not a goal in itself, but a naturally developing concept determined by the specific field of research. As many scientific questions of the present and future are too complex to be associated with a single scientific discipline, research will increasingly be based on interdisciplinary collaboration.
The discussions at Lindau clearly reveal the trend that young researchers leave the ivory towers of their disciplines to team up with colleagues from other disciplines and cultures in order to find answers to the pressing questions of the future. “We need breakthroughs in medicine, energy generation, social aspects and climate change prevention, to only name a few fields. Most of these are closely coupled and need to be addressed in an interdisciplinary approach”, the participating German marine biologist Christian Pansch (33) said. An important precondition for interdisciplinary research was that a free flow of communication was facilitated, just as unobstructed and lively like in cafeterias, as Nobel laureate Martin Chalfie put it. And Eric Betzig added that the basis for exchange with colleagues of other disciplines was a substantial understanding of one’s own discipline. “You have to be an expert in your own discipline,” William Moerner voiced it. He himself actually holds an academic degree in a total of three disciplines.
Stefan Hell even perceives the chance that by interdisciplinary collaboration researchers would become aware of outdated dogmas in their own disciplines – and finally overcome them. “Those who remain trapped in paradigms will not succeed in changing things.” Steven Chu told the audience that not only the complexity of issues but also the excellence of his students had driven him to explore new fields. “This is how you can escape the competition and expand your knowledge”.
Until Friday, the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting offers the participants plenty of opportunities to further discuss how to successfully shape interdisciplinary research. The meeting is currently the largest think for interdisciplinarity in the natural sciences. 65 Nobel laureates and more than 650 young scientists from 88 countries have come to Lindau to think about interdisciplinary approaches to tackle key issues of the future of mankind and our planet, like feeding the world, education for everyone, or preventing climate change. They not only overcome the mental barriers of their scientific disciplines, but also the the boundaries of generations and cultures. Isaac Newton once complained, “People build too many walls and not enough bridges”. The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting obviously builds bridges that last.
Press Release, 29 June 2015
Making the world a better place – programme start at 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting
“Making the world a better place” – programme start at 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting
The scientific programme of the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting started this Monday with a lecture on light microscopy by German Nobel laureate Stefan W. Hell. Until Friday, 65 laureates and more than 650 young researchers from 88 countries will discuss about the future of science. The future of light microscopy has been secured by Professor Hell. Due to his discovery, light microscopy is back as one of the top techniques to discover hidden worlds. The development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy makes it possible “to map the innermost secrets of life”, as the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences puts it in the reasoning for the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. In his lecture, Stefan Hell vividly described the path to success in opening these new dimensions – undoubtedly an encouraging account for young scientists and an advice to give unconventional methods a trial and to follow their curiosity.
For young scientists, pursuing their research careers is about more than gaining knowledge. Science should contribute to solving urgent problems of mankind, so is their creed according to a survey that was carried out in advance among the participants – 70 took part. “We are trying to make the world a better place,” neuroscientist Melina Barkhuizen (24) of South Africa wrote. Scientists should definitely have a say in political and social debates, emphasised for example the chemist Giovanni Maria Piccini (29) from Italy.
In particular, climate change is seen as the major challenge of the future. “If I had unlimited funds, I would tackle key issues like green energy production, water security and technologies for cleaning of water on the large scale,” the Australian chemist Tristan Clemons (27) said. Like him, many other young researchers state that they would like to see new techniques applied to repel the effects of climate change. “It is the responsibility of scientists to find solutions for issues such as environment-friendly energy and food supply for the world population,” stresses Cameroon-born chemist Alain Fobofou Tanemossu (28).
The young people also point out that none of the tools at hand is of any use, as long as our societies do not apply them to facilitate a sustainable and fair life for all people on the planet, for instance by supplying clean water and enough food. US physicist Noel Baker (29) takes a clear position here: The industrialised nations had the responsibility to reduce carbon emissions and prevent further climate change. Her colleague, the US biologist Laurel Yohe (26) writes: ” The gravest problem of mankind at this time is the destruction of our beautiful planet. (…)The industrial world tends to want things NOW. But we seriously need to learn to think ahead.” For if we do not take lasting, long-term and concerted measures, the Indian physicist Anupam Sengupta says, “it might be too late to revert the balances of nature back to its steady sustainable state.”
The debate on the role of science in society and the responsibility of science for society, which Federal President Joachim Gauck had called for insistently in his speech at the opening ceremony on Sunday, will be continued in the coming days in the discussions at Lindau.
Press Release, 28 June 2015
Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting Opened
Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting Opened
The 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting was officially opened at Lindau, Germany today. German Federal President Joachim Gauck gave a speech and welcomed the guests from almost 90 countries. 65 Nobel Laureates and more than 650 selected young scientists take part in the long-standing meeting until Friday. This year’s meeting is dedicated to all three scientific Nobel Prize disciplines: medicine, physics and chemistry. In the light of the increasingly interdisciplinary science sector, the programme addresses among other issues the question whether future breakthroughs in key areas can be expected from the interplay of different research branches.
Following Roman Herzog, Johannes Rau, Horst Köhler and Christian Wulff, Joachim Gauck is the fifth German Federal President to attend the annual Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. Former Federal President Horst Köhler was also among the other guests of honour, just like Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, and other high-level representatives from Germany and abroad. The German Federal Government was represented by Johanna Wanka, Federal Minister of Education and Research, and Gerd Müller, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development. The Free State of Bavaria was represented by State Minister Beate Merk.
“To inspire and motivate young scientists and researchers is the key concern of this meeting,” said Countess Bettina Bernadotte af Wisborg, President of the Council. In her opening speech, she stressed that the dedicated and inquisitive young people were the main reason for the Nobel laureates to be this specially committed to the Lindau Meetings. Since the dialogue between cultures is just as central to the meeting, Countess Bernadotte was particularly pleased about the international participants. Hundreds of students, PhD candidates and post-doc researchers around the world had applied for participation in the meeting.
Bertrand Gros, Chairman of Rolex SA, and Ulrich Wilhelm, Director-General of the Bavarian broadcasting corporation Bayerischer Rundfunk were inducted into the Honorary Senate of the Foundation Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings. Both join the select circle of personalities like Angela Merkel, José Manuel Barroso, and Bill Gates, who are especially dedicated to the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings.
Wolfgang Schürer, Chairman of the Foundation, lauded their outstanding achievements. Acting as chairman of a company owned by a foundation, Bertrand Gros’ compass in both business and philanthropy was excellence. Young talents on all continents would benefit from the company’s mentoring projects in the fields of education, art and environmental protection. Ulrich Wilhelm would address the need for science literacy, which constituted a precondition for citizens’ autonomy, especially in the digital age. His credo that freedom and responsibility were intrinsically connected, would extend beyond the field of journalism.
The opening ceremony ended with a presentation about the urban future of mankind by the popular Swedish economic thought leader Kjell A. Nordström. The economics professor, consultant and author of international bestseller management books is considered an influential initiator in the field of globalisation research.
Until Thursday, 2 July, the participating laureates and young scientists will have ample opportunity for an intensive exchange with each other. Numerous lectures, discussion sessions, master classes and panel discussions are on the agenda. The meeting will end on Friday, 3 July, with a boat trip on Lake Constance to Mainau Island at the invitation of the State of Baden-Württemberg. There, a panel discussion on the contribution of education and science for peace, featuring Nobel Peace LaureateKailash Satyarthi, marks the closure.
Press Release, 26 June 2015
Changes in the foundation's board of directors
Jürgen Kluge and Reinhard Pöllath – new members of the Foundation Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings
Wolfgang Schürer retires at the end of 2015 from the board of directors – a formal farewell during the 2016 Lindau Meeting
The Foundation Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings has two new board members; namely Prof. Dr. Jürgen Kluge and Prof. Dr. Reinhard Pöllath who were voted on to the board as of 1 January 2016. The new chairman of the Foundation Board shall be elected from the members of the incumbent board in January 2016. Both elected board members will participate in the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, 28 June to 3 July.
Professor Dr. Jürgen Kluge, former head of the German and Austrian offices of the international management consultancy McKinsey & Company and former CEO of the Duisburg Haniel Group, has been nominated as the new president. Professor Kluge studied physics at the University of Cologne and earned his doctorate degree at the University Duisburg-Essen. Today, among other positions, he is a senior advisor of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch and chairman of the supervisory board at Schmitz Cargobull AG. Since 2004 he has been an honorary professor at the TU Darmstadt. Jürgen Kluge has been committed to the sciences in many ways. Together with Prof. Dr. Jürgen Mlynek he developed the idea of the “Little Scientists’ House”. The largest federal educational initiative for the early childhood stage stems from this idea with more than 23,000 participating Kindergardens in all of Germany today. For years he has been a regular visitor to the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings and through his scientific education as well as his management positions he is involved at the intersecting point between science and the economy.
Professor Dr. Reinhand Pöllath is a founding partner in the law firm P + P Pöllath and Partners as well as chairman of the board at Beiersdorf AG and the maxingvest AG (the former Tchibo Holding AG) in Hamburg. He studied law in Regensburg, Munich and at Harvard and was a fellow of the German National Academic Foundation. In 1977 he received his license to practice law. In addition he is the spokesman of the board of the Max Planck Foundation, which he initiated together with the publisher Stefan von Holtzbrinck in 2006. Professor Pöllath has also attended the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings over the years. Through his occupation as a lawyer for family-owned enterprises as well as his honorary commitment, to among others, the Max Planck Society, he brings along valuable experience for the work on the board as well as the further development of the operation.
Professor Dr. Wolfgang Schürer, St. Gallen, Switzerland, chairman of the foundation board since the founding of the Foundation Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings in the summer of 2000, is retiring as of year’s end from the foundation board as previously announced. Professor Schürer has significantly shaped the development of the Lindau Meetings, especially with regard to their international orientation. Numerous strategic developments and innovations can be contributed to him. Thanks to his commitment, the foundation has a solid base to work with and to look forward into the future. Wolfgang Schürer’s official farewell and honoring of his outstanding achievements for the Lindau Meetings founded in 1951 by Count Lennart Bernadotte together with the Lindau doctors, Hein and Parade, is planned after completion of his term and during the 2016 Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting.
The Foundation Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings is supported by numerous Maecenates and Benefactors. 293 Nobel Laureates are members of the Founders’ Assembly.
As of January 1st 2016, there are the following members of the Foundation Board:
Countess Bettina Bernadotte af Wisborg, Mainau Island
(Member of the Foundation Board since 2008)
Thomas Ellerbeck, Berlin
(Member of the Foundation Board since its founding in 2000)
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Kluge, Düsseldorf
(Member of the Foundation Board as of 1 January 2016)
Prof. Dr. Reinhard Pöllath, Munich
(Member of the Foundation Board as of 1 January 2016)
Nikolaus Turner, Munich
(Managing Member of the Foundation Board since its founding in 2000)
Press Release, 16 June 2015
Strong commitment to young African scientists – Horst Köhler is patron of the new fellowship programme
Thanks to continuous efforts to attract more international participants, the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting will see far more young African scientists attending than ever before. More than 650 outstanding students and post docs are expected at Lake Constance from 28 June, 35 from the African continent. Former German Federal President Horst Köhler is the patron of the newly created Africa programme for the Lindau Meetings: the “Horst Köhler Fellowship Programme” enables excellent African scientists to participate. The programme is funded by the Robert Bosch Foundation and will be substantially expanded in the coming years with the support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
“Africa is so much more than the stereotypes that many of us still have in our heads. It is a dynamic, creative and diverse continent with an enormous and rapidly growing young population that is hungry for change. This is why I am grateful and excited that the Lindau Meetings have invited young fellows from Africa; some of the brightest minds from the continent. I am sure that not only will they learn a lot from the Nobel Laureates but also that we all will gain from their creativity and persistence,” said Horst Köhler. He had spoken up for the interests of Africa during his term of office as Federal President and set a number of key impulses in motion.
Horst Köhler will attend the opening ceremony of the Lindau Meeting on 28 June. He will then meet the Horst Köhler Fellows at a breakfast the following Monday, 29 June. Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, the French Nobel Laureate in Medicine and discoverer of the HI virus, will also be in attendance. She is strongly involved in efforts to improve research conditions in Africa.
Of the 35 African students to have made it through the several stages of the selection process, nine come from South Africa, four are from Egypt and Cameroon respectively, three from Ghana and three from Mauritius, and two from Botswana, Nigeria and Zimbabwe respectively, along with one each from Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Madagascar, Rwanda, Sudan and Uganda.
The Lindau Meetings’ existing network of academic partners was also involved in nominating the young African scientists. As in previous years, nominations were received from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Department of Science and Technology South Africa and The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS). Nobel Laureate Peter Agre, long a champion of malaria research, also proposed one African scientist for participation.
There will be 65 laureates taking part in the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. The interdisciplinary meeting will take place between 28 June and 3 July and serves as a forum for exchange, networking and inspiration. The Lindau Meetings have been held every year since 1951 in Lindau on Lake Constance.
News, 8 June 2015
Three Press Talks offered at #LiNo15
At the 65th Lindau Meeting, accredited journalists are invited to the three press talks held one each from Monday 29 June to Wednesday 1 July. These special sessions are not part of the official meeting programme; they are open to journalists only without prior registration. The panellists invited will each give a brief comment on the topic of the session, then take questions from the audience and engage in discussions.
Human genetic alteration: does the pause have a purpose?
Monday, 29 June, 13.30-14.30 hrs., Forum am See
Novel DNA-editing techniques, most prominently the CRISPR/Cas 9 system, offer new and more precise routes to genetic modification, including changing human DNA. There has been a call for a moratorium on use of the techniques in human embryos – and the US National Institutes of Health have blocked funding for such studies. Is the moratorium needed? Can it work? And how should we decide which research in this area is permissible, which best left alone? Panellists: Nobel laureates Elizabeth Blackburn, J. Michael Bishop, and Richard Roberts, young scientist Simon Elsässer (Karolinska Institutet, SE).
African science: today and tomorrow
Tuesday, 30 June, 13.30-14.30 hrs., Inselhalle, room Bayern
How will Africa take its place in a global knowledge economy? Scientific development is crucial for this vast continent. Young scientists from diverse African countries are attending Lindau. Some of them will join senior researchers with experience on the ground to give us a view of scientific prospects there. What are Africa’s scientific strengths and weaknesses? How can research in African countries be enhanced, and exploited for local benefit? What role may pan-African initiatives like the recent launch of the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) have? Panellists: Nobel laureates Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Peter Agre, young scientists Melinda Barkhuizen (North-West University, ZA), Prosper Ngabonziza (University of Twente, NL), and Serge Fobofou (Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry, DE)
Life sciences in the next 50 years: the big questions
Wednesday, 1 July, 13.30-14.30 hrs., Inselhalle, room Bayern
Our Laureates have had sparkling scientific careers. But suppose they were starting over? What question do they cherish, which they think could be answered in fifty years? How could it be tackled? And, while the details are unknowable, what is their personal best guess about the answer? Join us for an hour of informed speculation about the future of science, raising questions our young delegates may decide to tackle! Panellists: Nobel laureates Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Jack Szostak, and Arieh Warshel, young scientist John Schell (University of Utah, USA)
News, 7 June 2015
German Federal President to attend 65th Lindau Meeting
Federal President Joachim Gauck will attend the opening ceremony of the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting on 28 June 2015. Following Roman Herzog, Johannes Rau, Horst Köhler, and Christian Wulff, Joachim Gauck is the fifth German Federal President to visit the annual gathering of leading scientists from different generations and cultures. The president will deliver a speech at the ceremony.
Press Release, 24 March 2015
Women scientists gaining ground: High proportion of female participants at the 65th Lindau Meeting
An exceptionally high number of young female scientists will be taking part in the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting with the proportion of women amongst the 672 young scientists standing at 42%. According to data from UNESCO, only 30% of all researchers worldwide are female. The percentage of women amongst the Nobel Laureates is significantly lower still – 814 men, but just 46 women have received the award since 1901. This ratio is also reflected at the Lindau Meeting. A record number of almost 70 laureates are attending but just three are female. This year’s Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting is interdisciplinary and will take place from 28 June to 3 July in Lindau on Lake Constance. The list of participants has now been announced.
“The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings are future-oriented. This is indicated not least by the large number of young female scientists taking part. Their presence also sends out a strong message to their home countries to attract and retain more talented women in science,” remarks Helga Nowotny, co-founder and President of the European Research Council (ERC) from 2010 to 2013 and Vice-President of the Council for the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings.
Burkhard Fricke, also a member of the Council, emphasises that no female quota was used in the selection of the young scientists: “The young participants were evaluated purely on the basis of specialist criteria. The quality of the applications has once again risen significantly which made selecting the best of the many candidates extremely challenging.” Students, doctoral students and postdocs from a total of 88 countries were accepted. They are conducting research in the Nobel Prize disciplines of medicine, physics or chemistry.
The three female Nobel Laureates who will be coming to Lindau this year are the Frenchwoman Françoise Barré-Sinoussi (Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2008), the Australian Elizabeth Blackburn (Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2009) and Ada Yonath from Israel who became only the fourth woman in the history of the Nobel Prize to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2009.
During a panel on “Women in Science” at the 2014 Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, Elizabeth Blackburn remarked that there was now a pleasingly high proportion of women amongst science students but this was not replicated in lecturing and cutting-edge research. She called upon academic institutions to redouble their efforts to increase opportunities for women in these Areas.
Press Release, 4 March 2015
70 Nobel laureates and 672 young scientists expected at Lindau
70 laureates and 672 young scientists from 88 countries will participate in the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. The young participants, all of whom are excellent students, PhD candidates, and post-docs aged up to 35, have their research focus in the fields of medicine, physics, or chemistry. They had successfully passed a multi-step international selection process, the results of which have now been published. Conceived as an interdisciplinary forum, the meeting will be held from 28 June to 3 July. Its cause is to foster exchange and networking, and to provide inspiration. The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings have taken place in the Southern German town of Lindau at Lake Constance annually ever since 1951.
Among the 70 participating laureates are three of last year’s award-winning researchers: Germany’s Stefan Hell as well as the US-Americans Eric Betzig and William E. Moerner. They shared the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Many of the other laureates are regular guests at Lindau and have participated in the meetings many times. For instance, it will be the 27th meeting already for Swiss microbiologist and geneticist Werner Arber, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine of 1978.
As is the case every five years, the 65th meeting of its kind will bring together scientist of all three natural sciences that are Nobel Prize disciplines. “The scientific landscape of the future will be significantly more interdisciplinarily organised than today because this is the only way we can succeed in dealing with the pending big challenges of mankind. With our interdisciplinary meetings we want to make a contribution to educating the next generation of leading researchers working at the interface of the classical scientific disciplines“, says Wolfgang Lubitz, director of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion and Vice-President of the Council for the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings.
A six-day programme abundant with lectures and panel discussions is in store for the 672 selected young participants. Many consider presenting in one of the master classes a special opportunity. Exchange, networking, and inspiration have been at the core of the Lindau Meetings ever since their establishment in 1951.
The attendance steadily became more international as part of the continuous expansion of the network of academic partner institutions. This year’s participants represent 88 countries, including great research nations like the US, the United Kingdom, Japan, Israel, and Germany just as developing countries like Bangladesh or Zimbabwe. About 200 academies of science, universities, foundations, and researching enterprises of more than 50 countries played an active part in the course of the selection process for young scientists.
“Compared to previous years the quality of the applications has once more increased significantly,” says Burkhard Fricke, professor emeritus for theoretical physics, member of the Council for the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings and coordinator of the selection process. “Never before have we seen such an interdisciplinary attendance representing such a broad range of fields like in 2015. A PhD candidate who applies physical-technical methods and uses chemical means to tackle medical questions is not at all an isolated case“.