Published 29 June 2014 by Wolfgang Huang

Conquering New Frontiers: Lindau in Space

ESA Astronaut Alex Gerst sends a video greeting to Lindau from the ISS.

For a couple of years, we have not only been inviting young scientists and Nobel Laureates to the meetings, but also a small number of participants from 30 years ago – the Lindau Alumni. Many have made astonishing careers, and one of them made it into space. Today, space has been calling back.

It was two years ago at the 2012 meeting when we invited Reinhold Ewald to particpate once again at the Lindau Meeting, as he did exactly 30 years ago in 1982. And, among with other alumni, he made the trip to Lindau and had the chance to once again feel Lindau’s unique atmosphere. He had a lot to tell about his life and remarkable career. After graduating in physics and medicine he got his Ph.D. from the University of Cologne. In 1990, he became a member of the astronaut team of the German space agency DLR.

In 1997, he made his trip to space, or more precisely, to the MIR space station. The scientific experiments performed then contributed to a better understanding of sodium distribution in the human body.

German Astronaut, Reinhold Ewald with Mir-23 commander Vasily Tsibliev in the background, in Mir's Base Block. (NASA)
German Astronaut, Reinhold Ewald with Mir-23 commander Vasily Tsibliev in the background, in Mir’s Base Block.

After returning to earth, he took various leading leading functions within the European Space Agency and also was a member of ESA’s astronaut’s corps. He was also involved in the ISS missions of Thomas Reiter in 2006 as well as the current mission of Alxeander Gerst – our man in space!

After Reinhold Ewald’s second visit to Lindau, we stayed in contact, and the idea of doing a live transmission to the ISS during the Lindau Meeting came up. However, we realized that we had a tightly packed programme on both sides, and that it was kind of impossible to fit it into the programme – especially as a live transmission has some extra requirements as to the timing. So we decided to have recorded greetings from space instead.

Here is the first part with Reinhold Ewald’s introdution:

We also invited Alexander Gerst to the 63rd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, where he had a wonderful time and very quickly attracted new fans.

©Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, Christian Flemming
©Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, Christian Flemming

And then, two days ago, we finally received his message from space – we had almost started to fear that he would be so occupied on the ISS that he wouldn’t find the time to do it, but he did. He kept his word.

The video below was first shown during the Opening Ceremony of the 64th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, on Sunday, 29 June 2014. Watch out for the badge!

The whole Lindau Team would like to wholeheartedly thank Reinhold Ewald, Alexander Gerst and everyone else who contributed to making it possible. Simply awesome!

Safe travels, Alexander!



Wolfgang Huang

Director of the Executive Secretariat of the Council for the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings