Hello Lindau, Australia says G’day!
There are 13 Young Scientists who form the Australian contingent at this year’s Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. We are a happy bunch of people from very different backgrounds, united by a common love of science and life, and eternally grateful to the Lindau Nobel Laureate Council, Science Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF, Australia) and the Australian Academy of Science for selecting us and sponsoring this opportunity of a lifetime.
At last year’s 64th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, Australia hosted an International Day. This year, our mission objectives are simple, and I suspect, similar to your own. We are here to learn, exchange ideas, hopefully contribute to the global scientific community and use our experiences at Lindau to help make our home a better place. But we also want to get to know all of you, and show you what Australians have to offer.
First, there’s Emma Beckett, the fun-loving, chatty and incredibly knowledgeable nutritionist and science star, instantly recognisable by her ever changing coloured hair streaks (it’s pink this week at Lindau); Amelia Parker, the biomedical engineer currently working in cancer research at UNSW Australia, a Sydney girl who grew up in the Shire. Tristan Clemons, who works on the therapeutic applications of nanoparticles in various human health conditions, and who is also a champion hockey player aiming for the 2016 Olympics in Rio; Mark Zammit, our resident physicist; Paul Berkman, a gentle and knowledgeable giant (one of two CSIRO scientists here this year); Bronson Philippa from far North Queensland, and Elena Tucker from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (Melbourne), to name a few.
Australia is a land of opportunity, a beautiful multicultural melting pot, filled with people from all cultures and different walks of life. Just ask any of us, especially Eva Alvarez de Eulate, Kang Liang, Thomas Oon Han Loke, Vipul Gupta and Tim Zhao. Even despite the perennial issues of science funding, common throughout the world, professional scientific bodies such as the Australian Academy of Science as well as the Science and Industry Endowment Fund have strived to look after the next generation of Australian Researchers.
Being an island continent, geographically isolated from the rest of the world after separating from Gondwana ~100 million years ago, Australia has always fostered enormous diversification as well as uniqueness in its inhabitants (hence our strict quarantine laws – sorry folks!). Australian scientists are highly adaptable. Australians are intrinsically trained to think outside the box. Bred in a tough environment, we are resourceful and aim at finding innovative solutions to difficult problems. Australians are also adventurous, and at least three of us are attending as delegates of other countries (Nicholas Chilton – UK, Nathanael Lampe – France, Thomas Higgins – Ireland).
Australians are generally open-minded and appreciate everything. We admire the efficiency of the German railway system (if only someone could help translate the German railway and public transport system back to our Australian situation!), the solar panels in the countryside, German industry, and the natural beauty of Lindau and Bavaria.
Australians are brave and resourceful. Most of us are staying in Hotel Schöngarten Garni, which is on the mainland, approximately 35 minutes walk from the meeting venue Inselhalle. On Saturday 27 June, Amelia Parker, who will be presenting in Prof Harold Varmus’ Master Class in cancer research, provided a perfect example of this. On her very lonesome, with nothing but dead-reckoning and a few general directions from our lovely host, she set out from our hotel on foot and managed to navigate the criss-crossing path across the train-tracks, past a swarm of bees, over hill and under dale, until she reached the Inselhalle. And then she proceeded to teach the path to the rest of us.
Above all, Australians are loyal. From an early Age, we are taught the importance of “mateship” and social responsibility. Time and time again, history – both in times of peace and also, unfortunately, in times of war – has shown an Australian to be someone who you want to be standing next to you. We make great research lab partners, travel companions, and above all, great mates.
So please come and say hi to us! We’ll be the ones giving out the little koalas. We are a lively and happy bunch, friendly and approachable. We would love to hear your stories, and above all, make new friends.
Slider image: Adrian Midgley (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)