Welcome and Kick-Off to the Online Science Days

Countess Bettina Bernadotte during her speech on the occasion of the Welcome & Kick-Off for Online Science Days 2020. Photo/Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

On Sunday, 28 June 2020, Countess Bettina Bernadotte opened the Online Science Days 2020 from Lindau harbour on behalf of the Council and the Foundation for the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings:

“Welcome to the Online Science Days 2020, I am standing here live at Lindau harbour and I am very happy to speak to you.

Unusual times require new approaches. And holding the meeting would logistically and legally not have been possible. But first and foremost, the health and well-being of our participants, young and old alike, was most important to us. So instead: We met for the Online Science Days.

This online programme is not the same as a Lindau Meeting, and it does not try to copy or replace it. It is a new format, an exception, which we intend to use only once, in 2020, during the COVID-19 crisis. And Hopefully, we will meet again in Lindau 2021. The young scientists selected for the 70th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting and the 7th Lindau Meeting on Economic Sciences have both been invited for next year. But almost all are joining us for the next four days: So a warm welcome.

One of the things that is special about this online meeting: We also invited all of our alumni to join us. Still, you can only come to a Lindau meeting once (unless you are a Nobel Laureate), but this year you can join us for the Online Science Days.

Our alumni play a more and more integral part: They are, for example, responsible for the evaluation of the Next Gen Science presentations, where you, the young scientists, can present your research. And we also have more plans for our alumni for the future. So we are particularly happy to have them with us.

I am also deeply grateful for the commitment of so many Nobel Laureates. When we announced the Online Science Days and asked you for participation, very many very willingly agreed to partake. This means very much to us, because neither the Lindau Meetings nor the Online Science Days would be possible without you. Thank you so much.

I would also like to thank our partners and supporters. Without the generous, constructive and fast help from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the future of the meetings may have been at stake. And I would also like to thank the Free State of Bavaria, the International Lake Constance Conference, the Dieter-Schwarz-Stiftung as well as Mars, the Jacobs Foundation and Rolex for their support of this year’s Online Science Days.

We are also joined online by many of our Academic Partners, who select and send students to the meetings. You can visit them in the Expo area of our event platform! Thank you so much for being with us!

Was cancelling the meeting without an alternative ever an option? Never! It is more than obvious in these days, that science is urgently needed. Climate change, global poverty and many other challenges have not disappeared.

And with the corona pandemic we are currently faced with another one. Scientific advice to us, the people, as well as to policy makers is once more life-saving advice. Obviously, science does not know all the answers and with new data analyzed continuously, the advice needs to be adapted continuously as well. Also despite united in the belief in science, we may not always be of the same opinion.

But that is what Lindau exists for: Discuss. Engage. Think. Connect to fight and struggle for even better answers than we have right now. The Lindau Meetings want to be the place to come together, to learn, to get inspired, to connect. And in the current COVID-19 crisis, this may be needed more than ever.

And it will not be the last challenge for us, for science. Just one small example and outlook: We will also talk a lot during the next few days about climate change, and if we can apply anything that we are learning from the current crisis to the climate crisis.

Two years ago Elizabeth Blackburn gave a keynote speech in Lindau and made a bold suggestion for a new initiative. This initiative has developed into the Lindau Guidelines. They are a set of currently ten guidelines that can be used by young scientists and actually all scientists to do science “the right way”, if I may say so. But these guidelines are, most of all, an open invitation to all of you to start thinking about how you do science. To discuss them. To suggest modifications, or even new guidelines.

During our Sciathon, which has taken place last weekend, more than 200 young scientists, economists and alumni have worked on this topic. And the results will be presented on Wednesday. Also on Wednesday, we have our final panel debate on this very topic. And even that will not be the last word. You can check out our website for more information on how you can contribute to the guidelines and shape this important discourse.

Right now I want to send very special greetings to Klaus von Klitzing, 1985 Physics Nobel Laureate, because today is his birthday. Usually we celebrate this here in Lindau, but as this year everything is different from usual years I send a very warm happy birthday directly from Lindau to Stuttgart in one second – Happy Birthday!

And speaking of birthdays: A very dear friend of Lindau, Nobel Laureate Eddy Fischer turned 100 earlier this year. I had the opportunity to talk about his life as a scientist with him and we will show this conversation on Wednesday. And Eddy, if you are watching us right now: All the best from Lindau! We miss you here!

We will now soon begin with our first opening panel discussion on “International Scientific Collaborations”.

And just as a short advance explanation: Due to the different timezones, the technical challenges and everyone’s full schedule, we have usually recorded the first part of discussions and lectures, while the second part, the Q&A session, is live. And I would like to encourage you to actively ask questions and join the debate. How exactly that can be done will be explained later on.

I also want to take some time to thank my team around the Lindau Nobel Laurate Meetings. They have coordinated the programme and coped with all technical challenges, taken care of the settings on very short notice. And I thank them very warmly for it and please forgive us if there appeare any problems. It’s the first time we do this.

This also is a good time to thank all our moderators, who have prepared the discussions in advance with all the panelists for you. And of course many thanks to our panelists. Quite often they are in different countries, across all time zones, different continents and some of them have to get up at quite inconvenient times to be there for you all.

We are so grateful and even overwhelmed by your generosity to contribute!

And now I wish all of you that you might enjoy the Online Science Days!

Welcome!”