650 young scientists from 88 different countries participated in the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. One of them was Sarah Katharina Meisenheimer who is currently doing her Ph. D. in non-linear optics at the University of Freiburg, Germany. At Lindau she was especially fascinated by the cultural diversity of the meeting participants – that’s how the idea behind the photo project ‘Science all around the World’ was born. Miss Meisenheimer took portrait shots of 76 of the young scientists at the meeting. In the pictures they all carry signs with the word ‘science’ written in their respective native tongues.
In a short interview for our blog Miss Meisenheimer tells us more about her project.
Miss Meisenheimer, what’s ‘Science all around the World’ about?
With this photo series I want to show how science connects people globally. No matter how different languages, cultures and walks of life may be – just take a look at all the faces and the handwriting – all young scientists I met at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting are still connected through the desire to create something new.
How did you come up with the idea for the project?
On the second evening of the meeting I was strolling through the Lindau alleyways. Suddenly, I think ‘All those different faces connected by science are way more exciting than these pretty old buildings!’. Then I just wanted to capture all the different languages and handwritings I had seen on the first two days.
Do you have any favorites among the 76 portraits?
No, it’s really hard for me to pick out single portraits. It’s the diversity in facial expressions, clothing styles, letters and languages that makes them so special. Every picture reminds me of these short encounters and of the moment I released the shutter.
Which languages do you speak? Is there even any time left for language learning besides doing research?
My mother tongue is German. I am fluent in English since I have been living abroad in English speaking countries several times. I also speak French a little and was able to pick up Spanish during my undergraduate years at university. But I would love to learn even more languages like Arabic or Chinese because they tell you so much about the people and their cultures.
How important are global thinking and international networking for you today as a scientist?
International scientific exchange is absolutely natural for my. Skyping, emailing and conferences on all continents are already a fixture. As a scientist I feel very privileged because I get to know people from everywhere who share the same drive for knowledge.
It has been half a year since the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. What are the lasting impressions?
I was especially impressed by the enthusiasm for science shown by the meeting participants, Nobel laureates and young scientists alike but I will also forever remember the open-mindedness and curiosity – without them a photo project like this wouldn’t have been possible!
And now, the photos (to proceed to the next one, simply click on the image):
(Copyright for all photos: Sarah Katharina Meisenheimer)