CERN, Dark Energy, and Dark Matter
When you throw together six distinguished physicists (David Gross, John Mather, Carlo Rubbia, George Smoot, Gerardus ’t Hooft, and Martinus Veltman) into debate on what CERN will teach us about the dark energy and dark matter you can’t guarantee the same kind harmony that these physicists strive for in their own theories. There was a majority agreement […]
Infections and Disease: The Golden Age?
Harald zur Hausen’s discovery of the link between infection and cancer provides a window into what may turn out to be one of the most fascinating lines of inquiry in twenty-first century medical research: the link between microorganisms and what have been traditionally considered chronic diseases. This line of inquiry is founded on an evolutionary […]
Evolution – aiming to an objective?
This is a translation of Bastian Greshakes article "Evolution – auf ein Ziel hin?" in the German blog posts Werner Arber is at the Lindau meeting for the tenth time this year and again he has been giving a lecture. His topic for this year’s meeting was “Genetic and Cultural Impacts on the Course of […]
Personalities, puns and pictures in the plenaries
We’ve all had bad experiences of sitting in lectures, trying to focus on the slides while feeling like we’re really missing out on the key points of the subject. You want to stay motivated and learn something new, but somehow the speaker doesn’t make it easy for you. How to encourage good science communication was […]
The future of biomedicine is in neuroscience?
The impact of chemistry and physics to biomedicine apparently has its future in neuroscience according to Erwin Neher. The entire panel discussed various topics (you can read about some of the highlights here), but for me Neher dominated the conversation with his visions of the brain. Erwin Neher (who moved from physics to neuroscience during his […]
Heisenberg and Dirac
Beatrice’s story about Heisenberg possibly inspiring the "Schunkelwalzer" dancing tradition at Lindau reminds me of an ancedote about Heisenberg and Paul Dirac. Both were two of the most accomplished scientists of the twentieth century who made foundational contributions to quantum mechanics. But while Heisenberg loved song, dance and wine, Dirac was a very quiet man […]
On artificial and synthetic cells
Monday morning Jack Szostak talked about his ongoing work on creating artificial cells, where he is trying to create simple protocells from chemically synthesized material that in their simplest form only contain a membrane and genetic material. Later in the afternoon Hamilton Smith gave a detailed account of the work by the J. Craig Venter Institute cumulating in the […]
The History of the Universe
John Mather is humble when describing his measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation despite the fact that Steven Hawking described this measurement as possibly the most important discovery humans have ever made. The cosmic microwave background radiation is the remnant glow of the Big Bang; it is the primary evidence. Mather is careful to […]
Mountains Beyond Mountains
The scientist, by the very nature of his commitment, creates more and more questions, never fewer. Indeed, the measure of our intellectual maturity is our capacity to feel less and less satisfied with our answers to better problems.- G.W. Allport,Becoming, 1955 Science in the popular mind consists of a series of "Eureka!" moments. Such moments […]
Roger Tsien: Science should be beautiful
Today I talked with Roger Tsien about his research leading to the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the discovery and development of green fluorescent protein (GFP). I learned that visually beautiful research results are the best motivation, and that winning a Nobel Prize doesn’t mean that papers and grants come easily – you might still have […]
More than HPV: Vaccines against cancer
The late morning in Lindau was a non-stop marathon of medical researchers – first Harald zur Hausen talked about the links between infections and cancer, then Luc Montagnier gave an insight into his research that analyzes DNA under physical as well as biological aspects – venomous tongues may have linked that talk to homeopathy. At […]
Paul Crutzen’s Other Big Idea
Nobel Laureate Paul Crutzen will be at Lindau this year, along with his fellow recipient F. Sherwood Rowland. The two along with Mario Molina contributed to one of the most significant intersections of science with politics and public policy in the twentieth century when they discovered the effects of chlorofluorocarbons and other chemical compounds on […]