A Once-In-A-Lifetime Experience

View of Lindau Island from the zeppelin. Photo/Credit: Laura Schönhardt/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

There is a distinct lack of conversation about the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in South Africa – the first that I heard of this opportunity was when I was asked by my supervisor if he could nominate me to attend the 67th Lindau Meeting. The selection process is very rigorous, and it was 4 months after submitting my application that I received an email informing me that I had been selected to attend. I was extremely excited to receive this email, to the point that I immediately rushed to my supervisor’s office to tell him the news. A travel grant was provided by ASSAf, and as the selected delegates were from different universities and research organisations throughout South Africa, ASSAf organised a pre-meeting team-building gathering, during which we met the other delegates. Several Lindau alumni were also invited to this gathering, to share their experiences and give us advice on how we should approach the meeting. This advice varied from the sensible, ‘Meet as many people as you can’, to the less sensible, ‘Don’t sleep at all’. For my stay, I was hosted by Lindau residents, and my host family proved to be exceptional. They went so far as to organise transport for me from Munich to Lindau, and to make sure that I got onto the correct train at the end of my stay. We had many discussions, which varied from the nuances of our cultural differences, to discussions about topics raised at the meeting, to sports, politics, and everything in between. The experience of being hosted by locals added substantially to the entire ‘Lindau experience’.

During the meeting, numerous programme additions were organised, to which only a small group of researchers was invited. These additions were sponsored by research organisations or multinational corporations. I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend two such events. The first event was the Summer Festival of Science, which was hosted by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research. During this event, I found myself conversing with CEOs and vice-presidents from large multinational companies such as the Linde Group, Cabot Corporation and Lockheed Martin. Another opportunity was a flight in a zeppelin, as a part of an introduction to the ‘Clockwork Ocean’ expedition being undertaken by the ‘Helmholtz Zentrum Geesthacht’ of the Helmholtz Association. We were introduced to the methodology and equipment used to study the behaviour and impact of water eddies in the seas and oceans. Thereafter, we were taken on a 45-minute flight in the zeppelin for a magical view of Lindau and the Bodensee from the sky. We were joined for this flight by two Nobel Laureates, who were just as enthralled as we were by the views that unfolded.


On board of the zeppelin, expedition director Burkard Baschek from Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht explains the research of ‘Clockwork Ocean’ to Mark Williams-Wynn, Nobel Laureate Dan Shechtman and others. Photo/Credit: Roland Koch/Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft


The days of the conference flew past at a breath-taking pace, although not without presenting each of us with many opportunities to network and to learn from both the Nobel Laureates and the other researchers present. The advice from the alumni to not sleep made much more sense at this point. There were simply so many interesting people to meet and to discuss science with, that we all ended up sleeping far less than usual. For me, the lectures that most stood out were those in which the Nobel Laureates chose to share their personal experiences as researchers. These were lectures by Peter Agre, Dan Shechtman (2011 Chemistry Nobel Laureate) and Martin Chalfie (2008 Chemistry Nobel Laureate). After the lectures, each Nobel Laureate held a discussion session with the young researchers. I found Shechtman’s discussion session particularly pertinent to me, as we discussed science entrepreneurship and education. There was a strong emphasis on women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) at this year’s meeting, and as such, many of the young scientists involved in discussion panels and sessions were women. In stark contrast, only one of the 29 Nobel Laureates present was a woman (Ada Yonath, 2009 Chemistry Nobel Laureate).

On the final day of the meeting, we were treated to a boat ride to the garden island of Mainau, where we spent the day. Two occurrences during the events held on the island further highlighted women in STEM. During the closing panel discussion on ‘Ethics in Science’, a young researcher from the University of Cambridge, Dr Karen Stroobants, was, by far, the stand-out panel member, eclipsing the otherwise male-dominated panel. Secondly, Dr Hlamulo Makelane, from South Africa, gave heartfelt and emotive closing remarks for the Lindau Meeting on behalf of the young researchers, doing South Africa and women in STEM proud. Everything considered, the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I would recommend to anyone who is eligible to attend. Were it not for the fact that young scientists are only afforded the opportunity to attend once, I would have applied immediately for the next meeting.


This article is an excerpt from “Young South African researchers attend the 2017 Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting” by Nolwazi Nombona, Mark Williams-Wynn and Paul Kennedy, which was originally published in the South African Journal of Science.

Some Surprising Words of Wisdom

Lindau Alumna Karen Stroobants during the Panel Discussion 'Ethics in Science' at the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, Picture/Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

Lindau Alumna Karen Stroobants during the Panel Discussion ‘Ethics in Science’ at the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, Picture/Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings


We have had the privilege to take part in an event that I am sure we will talk about for long, and remember forever.

 This week, we have been educated by the most innovative chemists, and scientists, alive today. And where we indeed expected to learn about protein structures, novel methodologies and reaction mechanisms, some other words of wisdom genuinely came as a surprise. Harald zur Hausen, for example, has pointed out to us how important it is to acknowledge all contributors of ones work, whether they are human or collaborating cattle. Dan Shechtman has given us some essential dating advice; “thermodynamically, the perfect partner does not exist”. And according to William Moerner, watching ‘The Simpsons’ should be a fairly accurate method to predict whether one will obtain a Nobel Prize.


Martin Chalfie at the Science Picnic with young scientists during the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, Picture/Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

Nobel Laureate Martin Chalfie and young scientists during the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, Picture/Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings


 We have been inspired by Nobel Laureates, who have really engaged with us throughout this week. I personally decided to take up my studies in chemistry after learning about Marie Sklodowska-Curie, and I am sure many of us have been strengthened in our enthusiasm to pursuit the scientific profession after engaging with all the role models we met here in Lindau. In addition to the inspiration we have all gained in our specific fields, I hope we collectively have been inspired to deposit our pre-prints in online archives. Many of us recognise problems in the current academic culture, and let me remind you that we are the next generation of academics, and we have the possibility to reshape this culture. We can start today, and the concept presented by Martin Chalfie can be our first step in this endeavour.

 We have connected, not only with Nobel Laureates but also with one another. All of you have expressed creative ideas, contagious enthusiasm and profound confidence during our conversations. However, I could not but notice that those young scientists who are attracted by the academic career path showed more of this confidence than those who are considering other directions. Of course as Peter Agre mentioned, I hope many of us will reach our scientific aspirations. I want to encourage in particular the motivated women I have met, so that Ada Yonath will over time enjoy female company on the Lindau stage.


Lindau Alumna Karen Stroobants at lunch with Nobel Laureate Aaron Ciechanover during the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting , Picture/Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

Lindau Alumna Karen Stroobants at lunch with Nobel Laureate Aaron Ciechanover during the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting , Picture/Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings


To the few who have, with hesitation, expressed their passion to become a teacher, please remember that Ben Feringa might not have taken up a career in science was it not for his high school teacher. To those who have discussed potential opportunities in the policy field, let me remind you that during the opening keynote lecture of this event, Steven Chu would have liked to tell us that science should always be coupled to society, economics, and politics. We need teachers and policy makers, who advocate for the scientific method, at least as much as we need Nobel Prize winners. So whatever career path you decide on, please let it be a positive choice, and one that will enable you to have fun.

#LiNo17 Daily Recap – Thursday, 29 June

Thursday was the last day in Lindau but not the last day of the meeting. Friday is going to take the participants to Mainau Island, so while they are enjoying their last day on the picturesque island, let’s take a look at what happened yesterday. Here are our highlights from Thursday:


Video of the day:

All six panelists – Nobel Laureates Sir John E. Walker and Dan Shechtman, Wiltrud Treffenfeldt (Chief Technology Officer of Dow Europe GmbH), May Shana’a (Head of Research & Developmen of Beiersdorf AG) and young scientist Thomas L. Gianetti from ETH Zurich as well as chairwoman Alaina G. Levine – have strong opinions on “Science Careers” and gave excellent advise for #LiNo17 participants.

You are welcome to browse through our mediatheque for more panel discussions, lectures and other informative videos.


Picture of the day:

Nobel Laureate Peter Agre’s lecture on “Aquaporin Water Channels” was not only educational, but also made the young scientists laugh. Most definitely one of the best pictures of Thursday.

67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting Chemistry, 25.06.2017 - 30.06.2017, Lindau, Germany, Picture/Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings Audience in Peter Agre's lecture

For even more pictures from the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, past and present, take a look at our Flickr account.


Blog of the day:

When Nobel Laureates come to Lindau, photographer Volker Steger presents each with a surprise task. Find out what it is and how the laureates “sketch their science”.

Sketches of Science Slider

Do take a look at more of our inspring blog posts.


Tweets of the day:


Last but not least, follow us on Twitter @lindaunobel and Instagram @lindaunobel and keep an eye out for #LiNo17

We will keep you updated on the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting with our daily recaps. The idea behind it is to bring to you the day’s highlights in a blink of an eye. The daily recaps will feature blog posts, photos and videos from the mediatheque.


Für die Wissenschaft einstehen, bis es “klick” macht

Die 67. Lindauer Nobelpreisträgertagung neigt sich dem Ende zu. Die aktuellen politischen Ereignisse hinterlassen ihre Spuren, doch die Laureaten ermuntern die Nachwuchswissenschaftler zu Durchhaltevermögen und Leidenschaft für die Forschung.

Passend zum Abschluss der letzten Veranstaltung im Saal des großen Stadttheaters ertönt ein heftiges Gewitterdonnern – wie als Warnung an die Teilnehmer, sie mögen doch bitte wirklich all die neuen Forschungsfakten, sowie Vor- und Ratschläge verinnerlichen und mit nach Hause nehmen. Tag 4 und damit der letzte reguläre Programmtag der Lindauer Nobelpreisträgertagung neigt sich dem Ende zu. 


Nachwuchswissenschaftler unterhalten sich mit Nobelpreisträger Martin Chalfie während der 67. Lindauer Tagung, Picture/Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

Nachwuchswissenschaftler mit Nobelpreisträger Martin Chalfie während der 67. Lindauer Tagung, Picture/Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

Die Woche war vollgepackt und doch viel zu kurz: die ersten Veranstaltungen, die sogenannten Science Breakfasts, behandelten Kernthemen wie Circular Economy, CO2 Recycling oder die Chemie des Geschmacks, und begannen bereits um 7 Uhr morgens. Und doch reichte die Zeit kaum aus, sich mit allen Teilnehmern über die neuesten Forschungsergebnisse, die (wissenschafts-) politischen Entwicklungen weltweit, oder einfach ihre eigene interessante internationale Geschichte auszutauschen. Denn genau das ist das erklärte Ziel der Lindauer Woche: der Austausch zwischen Nachwuchswissenschaftlern und Preisträgern sowie zwischen allen anderen Teilnehmern – je weiter entfernt des anderen Expertise von der eigenen, umso wertvoller ist der Gedankenaustausch.

Interessanterweise kam bei so einem Austausch ein Raum von etwa 50 Chemikern während des Circular Economy Science Breakfast mit dem Gastgeber BASF zu einer eher sozial-ökonomischen Erkenntnis, die Walter Gilbert von der Harvard Universität auf den Punkt brachte: „Die Wissenschaft kann Lösungen bieten – umgesetzt werden müssen diese aber von allen zusammen.“ Er bezog sich hierbei vor allem auf neue umweltschonende Technologien, die zwar von der Grundlagenforschung her bereits durchaus realisierbar sind, aber von den Konsumenten noch nicht angenommen werden. Er und die Teilnehmer sahen hier vor allem die Forschung in der Pflicht, die Vorteile der neuen Entwicklungen so lange zu erklären, zu verdeutlichen und anzupreisen, bis sie tatsächlich in das Allgemeinverständnis und den Alltag übergegangen sind.


Nachwuchswissenschaftler unterhalten sich mit Nobelrpreisträger Robert Huber beim BASF Science Breakfast.  Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

Nachwuchswissenschaftler unterhalten sich mit Nobelrpreisträger Robert Huber beim BASF Science Breakfast. Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

Neben der exzellenten Forschung schlängelte sich auch die zur Zeit international schwierige Situation der Forschung durch die Veranstaltung. Vor allem die Nachwuchsforscher sehen sich inzwischen vielfach extrem wissenschaftsfeindlicher Einstellungen ausgesetzt, und suchen Rat, wie sie am besten damit umgehen sollen. Die nahezu einhellige Meinung der Laureaten: den Mund aufmachen und für die Forschung und wissenschaftliche Fakten einstehen.

Dazu gehört eine fundierte, sachliche, aber auch beherzte Wissenschaftskommunikation, die neue Erkenntnisse nicht nur unter Wissenschaftlern, sondern auch einer breiten Öffentlichkeit zugänglich machen sollte. Weder die Forscher noch die Wissenschaftsjournalisten sollten sich hierzu hinter Fachjargon oder Plattitüden verstecken. Und in der Panel Discussion Science Careers rief Sir John E. Walker die Nachwuchswissenschaftler sogar zu einer Karriere als Politiker oder Politikberater auf: „Die Politiker können nur fundierte Entscheidungen treffen, wenn sie gut informiert sind und die Materie verstehen. Dazu brauchen sie euch!“ Er und seine Panelmitstreiter May Shana’a (Beiersdorf AG), Dan Shechtman (Nobelpreiträger am Weizmann Institut), Wiltrud Treffenfeldt (Dow Europe GmbH) und Thomas Gianetti (ETH Zürich) sehen es schlicht als Pflicht der Wissenschaftler an, für die Forschung und deren Ergebnisse einzustehen.


Podiumsdiskussion zum Thema

Podiumsdiskussion zum Thema “Science Careers”, Credit: Julia Nimke/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

Außerdem forderten die Laureaten die jungen Forscher vielfach dazu auf, auch abseits der bekannten und bequemen Pfade zu forschen, um so wieder große Durchbrüche zu schaffen. Martin Chalfie und viele andere erzählen Anekdoten, wie wahrlich neue Erkenntnisse oft durch Fehlversuche zu Stande kamen. Anstatt die Fehlversuche als Versagen zu werten, sollten die Nachwuchswissenschaftler die Freude an der Forschung nicht verlieren, und unerwartete Ergebnisse zu schätzen lernen. Ein High-Impact-Paper sei schließlich kein Garant für spätere Erfolge. Solange die Forscher aber mit echter Leidenschaft an einem Thema arbeiten, hätten sie ausgezeichnete Chancen für eine erfolgreiche Zukunft, so Dan Shechtman. Ohnehin, seien mindestens die Hälfte der naturwissenschaftlichen Arbeiten, die später mit einem Nobelpreis ausgezeichnet wurden, in vergleichsweise kleinen Journals mit eher niedrigem Impact-Factor publiziert worden, sagt Martin Chalfie.

Am letzten Tag der Veranstaltung findet noch die traditionelle Bootsfahrt zur Insel Mainau statt. Dort werden Bettina Gräfin Bernadotte und Björn Graf Bernadotte noch einmal die Tagung Revue passieren lassen, und dort wird auch die letzte Panel Discussion zum Thema Ethics in Science abgehalten. Ich bin mir sicher, dass auch hier die Nachwuchswissenschaftler noch einmal aufgefordert werden „alternative Fakten“ nicht einfach stillschweigend hinzunehmen, sondern so lange für die Forschung zu werben, bis auch der letzte Kritiker überzeugt ist.

When the Stars Align, Your Career Will Shine: Science Careers Panel Preview

I’m back, baby. After two amazing years reporting at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, I gleefully signed up for my third. But there’s a twist. This year’s focus is on chemistry, and I’m a physics nerd. What’s a gal to do? I did what any sound-minded, giddy geek would do: Jump at the chance to jet to the foremost conference of Nobel Laureates, to become educated by, connect with, and be inspired by the chemistry community, which by no coincidence is also Lindau’s leitmotif. I look forward to an amazing week of lectures, master classes, conversations, and prime networking, with both established and emerging leaders in chemistry. Remember this meeting is being attended by up to 30 Nobels, and more than 400 young scientists from around the world. And, because this is Lindau, there will also be a few Nobles participating as well. Thank you Countess Bettina!


Alaina G. Levine with Nobel Laureate Klaus von Klitzing at #LiNo17. Photo/Credit: Courtesy Alaina G. Levine

Alaina G. Levine with Nobel Laureate Klaus von Klitzing at #LiNo16. Photo/Credit: Courtesy of Alaina G. Levine

Like last year, I will be reporting from this true #NerdHeaven throughout the week, blogging, and of course, tweeting up a storm. Follow me @AlainaGLevine and via the hashtag #LiNo17. So stay tuned. Now of course because I am a comedian (and oh so clever), you can totally expect that I will be inundating you with tons of chemistry jokes. It is how we will bond. And if you play your cards right, I might just end up writing in formulae.

But speaking of the language of chemistry, there is nothing formulaic about Lindau. Even though there is a schedule (and it is packed!), there are always surprises to be had. Go around one corner and see Dr. Mario Molina, the Nobel Laureate who discovered the whole in the ozone layer. Take a stroll to the Grill and Chill, and hang with Dr. Bernard L. Feringa and listen as he highlights his talk on the joy of discovery. Or bump into Dr. Klaus von Klitzing, like I did last year on his birthday no less, and watch in amazement as he takes his Nobel Prize medal out of his jacket to show it to you. You might even get a chance to touch it! You can read my story, Lindau: The Day I Got the Nobel Prize, which shares that experience.

I am sure you have studied the agenda for Lindau with the same velocity and ferocity as you approached picking your PhD dissertation topic. So you probably noticed that on Thursday, 29 June at 15.00 hrs there will be a very special panel discussion on Science Careers. But did you notice who is on that panel? Did you see the chemistry celebrities that Lindau lined up to share their experiences? And did you also see that yours truly is moderating the panel? That’s right – I am so excited about this I even brought a suit for the affair.

Now the leaders who will be participating in this panel are Absolute Heroes (oh yes I did) of Chemistry, whose careers span the spectrum of ecosystems. These stars include:

Thomas L. Gianetti, Postdoctoral Associate in Chemistry and Applied Bioscience, ETH Zurich, Switzerland: Dr. Gianetti, an early career scientist, will share his insight and perspective as a young scientist attending Lindau and launching his career.

May Shana’a, Head of Research & Development, Beiersdorf AG, Germany: Dr. Shana’a has more than 26 years of expertise in the management of global R&D organizations of multinational companies. For 20 years she worked in skin care and cosmetics. Most recently she led the global R&D organisation of Ashland Specialty Ingredients (ASI), located in Bridgewater, USA. Before that the Lebanese-born Shana’a assumed international leadership positions in the research departments of Johnson & Johnson and at Unilever in the company locations in Italy, the U.S. and in the UK. She is among the world’s leading innovation experts in skin care. 

Dan Shechtman, 2011 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Technion – Israel: Dr. Shechtman, whom I had the pleasure of interviewing last year, is known as the father of entrepreneurship in Israel and has also made it his mission to educate and motivate young kids to go into STEM with his development of a kids science TV show.

Wiltrud Treffenfeldt, Chief Technology Officer Europe, Middle East, Africa & India, Dow Europe GmbH, Switzerland: Dr. Treffenfeldt serves as a Consultant to the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), and is Global Director for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Dow. She serves as a Director for Bioprocess Development of The Dow Chemical Company, USA. She joined Dow Germany as Leader for Corporate Biotechnology R&D in Europe in 2001 and then Dr. Treffenfeldt has been R&D Director for Biopharma since 2004. The main focus of her responsibilities is the development and implementation of strategies in the areas of human and animal health at Dow and Dow AgroSciences with the goal of creating sustainable value within the biotechnology sector.

Sir John E. Walker, Emeritus Director, Medical Research Council, Mitochondrial Biology: Dr. Walker won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1997, and as of 2015, he is Emeritus Director and Professor at the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit in Cambridge, and a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.


Panel Discussion during the 66th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting Picture/Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

Panel Discussion during the 66th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting Picture/Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings


We plan to delve into many different elements of crafting successful careers in science, including how to handle challenges and failure, what skills are necessary to advance, and how can one stand out in the crowd. We will also have a very frank but organic discussion with the panelists in which they will describe their own jobs and career paths, and the lessons they have learned which have shaped their success. Be prepared to be amazed! You can easily see that this panel will be a fabulous enzyme which will truly catalyze your career! The advice they will give will be so “neat”, I can’t even.

So folks this is just a nanosample of what you can expect at this stellar meeting where the stars shine bright, the science is chill, and the networking is chem-tastic.

I can’t wait to see you in #NerdHeaven!

Dan Shechtman inspires young scientists in Nepal

I, on the behalf of the Asian Science Camp Alumni Association, have hosted an event “Interactive Session with Nobel Laureate Prof.Dr. Dan Schechtman” in a collaboration with the International Quasi Crystal Conference and Embassy of Israel In Nepal on 19th September 2016, at the Hotel Soltee Crown Plaza, in Kathmandu, Nepal.


Kathmandu's Durbar Square with the magnificent Bodnath Stupa in its center (picture was taken before the horrible earthquake in 215 struck the city). Photo: iStock.com/fotoVoyager

Kathmandu’s Durbar Square with the magnificent Bodnath Stupa in its center (picture was taken before the horrible earthquake in April 2015 struck the city). Photo: iStock.com/fotoVoyager

The hall of Hotel Soltee Crowne Plaza was jammed on 19th September with researchers, young scientists, students of various fields, political leaders from leading parties, government representatives and policy makers to attend the talk of Prof. Dan Shechtman. He stood among a huge crowd of unknown faces, yet expressed himself with such an amiable manner. Only few people possess such a down to earth and charismatic personality like Prof. Dan Shechtman. No doubt, the Nobel Laureates’ story is a fascinating one: from his achievements and the hard work he has done to the roller coaster ride of his eventual success.  In addition, Shechtman also shared many of his ideas, gave us insights on how he thinks and much more. Only few people get the chance to meet such a great personality and the young researchers, I must say, are very lucky to get this once in a life time opportunity to meet Prof. Dan Shechtman.

Since Dan Shechtman is a professor of material sciences and a Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, everyone expected him to talk about his scientific achievements and experiences. But out of the blue, he talked about another topic dear to his heart: the role of technological entrepreneurship for the development of a nation. The title of his speech was “Technological Entrepreneurship – A Key to World Peace and Prosperity”. He advocated the important role of techno-entrepreneurship in transforming developing countries like Nepal into efficient economies. He emphasized that developing entrepreneurial spirit and a well educated youth is paramount for the development of a country.


Nobel Laureate Dan Shechtman with attendees of his lecture. Photo: Asian Science Camp Alumni Association

Nobel Laureate Dan Shechtman with attendees of his lecture. Photo: Asian Science Camp Alumni Association

Professor Shechtman especially stressed the significance of good basic education for everyone. He listed good engineers, science education, proper government policy and anti-corruption measures as basic components that help empowering a country’s entrepreneurship. He also shared ideas and suggested some do’s and don’ts, e.g. regarding potential sources of investments and strategies for the startups. Shechtman then explained the situation in his home country Israel: “Israel is a small country with a small population and small markets. So the majority of our products are exports. If you produce products more efficiently, you can compete easily in foreign markets. When you come up with a new thing, it is innovation. When you turn your innovation into something marketable, that’s entrepreneurship.”

With his experiences at the Technion, Professor Shechtman showed the importance of science education for a nation. He further added: “Entrepreneurship does not come naturally to anyone. You have to teach it like you teach mathematics.” Shechtman illustrated his thoughts by bringing up relevant examples of the development of Israel, Taiwan and other comparable countries. Finally, the participants got a chance to ask their own question which was a dream coming true for everyone in attendance. Professor Shechtman’s speech was a real treat to all of us and many young Nepalese will take lots of inspiration from his speech.

Committed to Teaching Science and Entrepreneurship: Dan Shechtman

On the beautiful Mainau garden island in Lake Constance where the Closing Panel Discussion of the 2016 Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting took place, Dan Shechtman gave insights into his long and productive career. After finishing his degree in mechanical engineering at the Technion in Haifa, he couldn’t find a job due to the economic crisis of 1966. So he continued his studies and thought he would find a job after the recession. But then he “fell in love with science” and decided to continue for his PhD – and we know that this was a very wise choice.

But during his initial job hunt in the mid-sixties, the Technion, Israel’s prestigious Institute of Technology, didn’t encourage its students to start their own businesses. “The spirit of the Technion told us: you will be so good that when you graduate, everybody will want to hire you,” Shechtman recounts in the Mainau panel discussion. “And I said: ‘Oh, that is very wonderful, but what if I want to open my own technology business? How do I do that?'” The Technion didn’t teach that. So when he became a full professor at the very same Technion 1986, after his discoveries of quasicrystals that later won him the Nobel Prize, he told himself: “Now I can do whatever I want,” and he immediately started planning the course ‘Technological Entrepreneurship’, a term he invented. Only one year later, he offered his first course, it’s now in its 29th year. When Shechtman announced this course for the first time, 800 students came to attend, but the hall was only approved for 600 people – “the largest class of the Technion ever”, as he remembers.


Dan Shechtman's 2016 lecture in Lindau: The Science and Beauty of Soap Bubbles, view here. Photo: Rolf Schultes/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

Dan Shechtman’s 2016 lecture in Lindau: ‘The Science and Beauty of Soap Bubbles’, view here. Photo: Rolf Schultes/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

Today, Israel has more companies quoted on the American exchange platform NASDAQ than any other country outside the US except China, and most major high-tech companies have research and development departments in Israel. How come such a small country with only about 7 million inhabitants produces more start-up companies than large stable nations like Japan, India, Canada and the United Kingdom, asks the book ‘Start-Up Nation’. The authors see high levels of immigration and Israel’s mandatory military service as two contributing factors. When approached on this subject, Shechtman remarks: “I don’t claim that I’m the father of the start-up nation, but I contributed to it. (…) By now I have very many engineers and scientists in my country, more than 10,000, that took my class and had the chip of entrepreneurship embedded in their minds.”

To these classes he would invite three groups of speakers: successful entrepreneurs, struggling entrepreneurs, and professionals like lawyers, accountants, patent officers and marketing experts: the classic start-up advice. And although the word ‘start-up’ wasn’t used when his course started, ‘technological entrepreneurship’ was already tailored to the needs of future technology companies. Besides practical advice, the students also learn about failure. They would hear that out of ten newly established technology companies, one is a big success, two struggle, and seven will fail. And they learn that failure is Okay, that next time they’ll be much more successful. Some of Shechtman’s many lectures even have the title ‘Failure? OK, Start Again!’

In an interview with The Guardian, Dan Shechtman says how he feels “like a missionary to promote education and science and technological entrepreneurship.” So besides ‘real science’ and technological entrepreneurship, the Nobel laureate is passionate about science education because “every society needs more engineers and scientists, and biologists and computer experts. These are people that open start-ups and develop economies,” as he explains in the Mainau discussion. However, he sees a widespread phenomenon that “young people don’t want to become any of these, they want to be managers and lawyers and accountants,” which is fine in his opinion, but these professions don’t produce anything. “And start-up companies, high-tech companies, small companies that will grow – this will lead us to a better future,” meaning more prosperity for larger parts of the world population.


Shechtman’s opening statement at the panel discussion The Future of Education in Sciences was: “The most important resource of any country, and the most sustainable one, is human ingenuity. And we have to foster it, and we have to develop it as early as possible” – a strong sentence, and he acts upon it. In 2012, he initiated a programme in his hometown Haifa to educate kindergarten teachers in scientific topics. They in turn were expected to teach science to kindergarten children. But “part of it was lost in translation,” Shechtman says in hindsight. Some teachers couldn’t really understand what they were supposed to teach, so the teaching didn’t work very well.

Dan Shechtman drew two conclusions: he wanted to teach young children more directly, but he also wanted to reach a larger audience. So on the one hand, he helped a programme to install ‘Science Kindergartens’ in Israel: the first opened in October 2015. On the other hand, he contacted the national educational television channel and proposed a TV sience show for young children in order to reach a larger audience. The show is called ‘Being a Scientist with Prof. Dan’, in Hebrew this sentence rhymes.

The TV channel built a small laboratory in a TV studio, and Prof. Dan has a young actress as his assistant. For every 15-minute show, three children aged six are invited to discuss science topic with the adults: How are things measured? What is matter? How is matter built? How does light interact with matter? What are fields – gravitational fields and magnetic fields? You can watch these shows on youtube, but since they’re tagged in Hebrew letters, I recommend to use these links (show on matter, fields, atoms and crystals, and measuring). It’s a delight to see how passionately Prof. Dan and his assistant explain scientific topics, and how much fun the children have in taking part.

This year Dan Shechtman talked about ‘The Beauty and Science of Soap Bubbles’ in Lindau. This inspiring lecture is supposed to be the starting point for a series on ‘Science and Aesthetics’ that he’s planning. In 2017, he will give a Lindau lecture about crystallography – the topic for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2011.


Dan Shechtman: Forscher als Unternehmer ausbilden

Die Abschluss-Podiumsdiskussion der Lindauer Nobelpreisträgertagung fand auch 2016 wieder auf der Bodenseeinsel Mainau statt. Dan Shechtman gehörte zu den Diskutanten über das Thema ‘Wissenschaftliche Ausbildung in der Zukunft’ und gewährte Einblicke in seine ereignisreiche Karriere und sein vielfältiges Engagement. Alles begann mit einem Studium des Maschinenbaus am Technion in Haifa. Doch nach seinem Bachelorabschluss fand er in der Wirtschaftskrise 1966 keinen Job. Also studierte er weiter in der Hoffnung, mit einem Mastersabschluss später eine Anstellung zu finden, doch er “verliebte sich in die Wissenschaft”, wie er dem britischen Guardian anvertraute und entschloss sich zu einer Promotion – eine weise Entscheidung, wie wir heute wissen.

Während seiner ersten, erfolglosen Jobsuche unterstützte das Technion ihn und andere Studenten nicht darin, sich selbstständig zu machen. “Die vorherrschende Haltung war: Wenn ihr hier euren Abschluss macht, werdet ihr so gut sein, dass sich die Arbeitgeber um euch reißen,” erinnert sich Shechtman heute. “Ich meinte damals nur: ‘Das ist ja alles schön und gut, aber was ist, wenn ich mein eigenes Unternehmen gründen möchte?'” Am Technion erhielt er keine zufriedenstellende Antwort auf diese Frage, dort gab es keine Kurse über Existenzgründung. Als er 1986 zum Professor am Technion berufen wurde, sagte er sich: “Jetzt kann ich endlich machen, was ich schon immer wollte.” Sofort begann er mit der Planung des Kurses ‘Technological Entrepreneurship’. 1987 fand der erste Kurs statt, er wird seit 29 Jahren kontinuierlich angeboten. Zur ersten Veranstaltung kamen 800 Studenten, der Saal war jedoch nur für 600 zugelassen: “Der größte Kurs, den es am Technion jemals gab,” erinnert sich Shechtman gerne.


Dan Shechtman während seines Lindau-Vortrags 2016: Über die Schönheit und Wissenschaft der Seifenblasen. Sehen Sie den ganzen Vortrag hier. Photo: Rolf Schultes/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

Dan Shechtman während seines Lindau-Vortrags 2016: Über die Schönheit und Wissenschaft der Seifenblasen. Sehen Sie den ganzen Vortrag hier. Photo: Rolf Schultes/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

Heute sind mehr israelische Firmen im amerikanischen Aktienbörse NASDAQ notiert als aus irgendeinem anderen Land außerhalb der USA, mit Ausnahme Chinas. Und die allermeisten Hightech-Konzerne betreiben Forschungsabteilungen in Israel. Wie kommt es, dass ein kleines Land mit nur rund sieben Millionen Einwohnern mehr Start-Up-Unternehmen hervorbringt als große Länder wie Japan, Kanada, Indien oder Großbritannien? Das Buch ‘Start-Up Nation’ widmet sich dieser Frage, die Autoren identifizieren einerseits die starke Zuwanderung nach Israel, andererseits die Wehrpflicht als zwei Säulen dieses Erfolgs. Wenn man Shechtman auf dieses Buch anspricht, antwortet er: “Ich nehme für mich nicht in Anspruch, der Vater der Start-Up-Nation zu sein, aber ich denke, dass ich meinen Teil dazu beigetragen habe. (…) Zurzeit arbeiten über 10.000 Forscher und Ingenieure in Israel, die meinen Kurs besucht haben – ihnen wurde sozusagen ein Chip fürs Unternehmertum eingepflanzt.”

Im Rahmen eines solchen Kurses lädt er drei verschiedene Arten von Rednern ein: erfolgreiche Unternehmer, Unternehmer mit Problemen, sowie Berater wie Anwälte, Buchhalter, Experten für Patentrecht, Marketingexperten etc., also Experten, die in jeder klassischen Exitenzgründungsberatung zu Wort kämen. Zwar war das Wort ‘Start-Up’ noch wenig gebräuchlich, als Shechtmans Kurs startete, trotzdem widmet sich diese Veranstaltung ganz den Bedürfnissen künftiger Tech-Unternehmern. In den Kursen geht es nicht nur um praktische Tipps, die Teilnehmer sollen auch ein paar Lektionen über das Scheitern erhalten. Sie lernen beispielsweise, dass es durchaus in Ordnung ist, zu scheitern, und dass sie im nächsten Anlauf aufgrund ihrer Erfahrung deutlich besser abschneiden werden. Dan Shechtman hält viele Vorträge weltweit zu solchen Themen, manche tragen den Titel ‘Failure? OK, Start Again’.

In einem Interview erklärte Shechtman 2013, dass er sich wie “ein Missionar fühlt, dessen Anliegen die Förderung von Bildung, Wissenschaft und Unternehmertum ist”. Ein wichtiges Anliegen ist ihm auch die naturwissenschaftliche Bildung schon ab dem Kindergartenalter. “Jede Gesellschaft braucht mehr Forscher und Ingenieure, mehr Biologen und IT-Experten”, erklärt er während der Podiumsdiskussion auf der Insel Mainau. “Das sind die Menschen, die neue Unternehmen gründen und eine Gesellschaft wirtschaftlich voranbringen. Aber heute wollen viele junge Menschen diese Berufe nicht mehr ausüben”, bedauert er. “Lieber wollen sie Anwälte oder Buchhalter oder Manager werden.” Das seien zwar alles sinnvolle Berufe, aber eine Gesellschaft aus lauter Anwälten würde nichts produzieren. “Start-Up-Firmen, Hightech-Firmen, kleine Neugründungen die größer werden – das alles wird uns eine bessere Zukunft bescheren,” also mehr Wohlstand für größere Teile der Weltbevölkerung.


Sein Eröffnungs-Statement bei der Mainau-Podiumsdiskussion lautete: “Der wichtigste Rohstoff eines Landes, und außerdem der nachhaltigste, ist der menschliche Einfallsreichtum. Diesen Reichtum müssen wir fördern und zwar so früh wie möglich.” Ein starker Satz, und Shechtman hat ihn sich zu eigen gemacht: Im Jahr 2012 begann er in seiner Heimatstadt Haifa, Erzieher und Erzieherinnen weiterzubilden, damit sie ihren Schützlingen wissenschaftliche Themen nahebringen. Aber dieser Ansatz funktionierte nur bedingt, viel ging in der ‘Übersetzungsarbeit’ verloren, in seinen Worten: “Part of it was lost in translation.” Die Erzieher verstanden nicht immer, was sie genau unterrichten sollten und konnten die Inhalte deshalb nicht gut rüberbringen.

Da Shechtman ein Scheitern nie akzeptiert, zog er zwei Schlüsse: Er wollte Kinder dieses Alters direkter ansprechen, und außerdem ein größeres Publikum erreichen. Also half er, ein Programm für Wissenschafts-Kindergärten in Israel auf den Weg zu bringen: der erste eröffnete im Herbst 2015. Zudem kontaktierte er den führenden Bildungs-Fernsehsender Israels und schlug eine Fernseh-Wissenschafts-Show vor. Der Sender griff diese Idee gerne auf: ‘Mit Prof. Dan Wissenschaftler sein’ wurde ins Leben gerufen; auf Hebräisch reimt sich dieser Satz.

Der TV-Sender richtete ihm ein kleines Labor in einem Fernsehstudio ein und stellte Prof. Dan eine Assistentin zur Seite, eine junge Schauspielerin. In jeder der 15-minütigen Sendung diskutieren die Kinder Wissenschaftsthemen mit den Erwachsenen: Wie kann man Dinge messen? Was ist Materie? Wie ist sie aufgebaut? Was verstehen Forscher unter Feldern, vom Magnetismus bis zur Schwerkraft? Man kann sich einzelne Folgen dieser Sendung auf Youtube anschauen, aber da sie ausschließlich mit hebräischen Buchstaben verschlagwortet wurden, sind sie schwer zu finden. Deshalb empfehle ich folgende Links: die Sendung über Materie, über Felder, über Atome und Kristalle, sowie über das Messen. Es ist eine wahre Freude zu sehen, wie leidenschaftlich Prof. Dan den Kindern Wissenschaft erklärt und wie begeistert die Kinder bei der Sache sind.

Diesen Sommer hielt Shechtman einen Lindau-Vortrag mit dem schönen Titel ‘Über die Schönheit und Wissenschaft von Seifenblasen’. Dieser anschauliche Vortrag soll der Ausgangspunkt für eine ganze Vortragsreihe über ‘Forschung und Ästhetik’ werden. Im kommenden Jahr auf dem 67. Nobelpreisträgertreffen möchte er über Kristallographie sprechen, das Themenfeld, in dem er 2011 seinen Chemienobelpreis erhielt.


Scientists as modern nomads in a globalised scientific world

“Scientists in motion: how immigration continues to shape the scientific world” was the motto of the first press talk at the 66th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. A small but intimate format, the press talks have proved to be a useful platform apart from the lectures for highlighting key scientific topics of vital importance.
Interested journalists and the panel participants had gathered at the invitation of Physics World to shed light on this far-reaching topic: Is immigration primarily about obtaining better research opportunities, or, in the worst case, is it about fleeing political circumstances in the country of origin?

Hamish Johnston, editor of Physics World, kicked off the discussion with a brief outline of the careers of recipients of the Nobel Prize for Physics. Johnston had taken the trouble to research how many Nobel Laureates live in or have died in countries other than their homeland. That was true of 51 Laureates of the 200 listed. The clear winner of this brain drain has been the USA with 30 Laureates who emigrated there, eleven from Germany alone. Clearly, this represents just one of many aspects of this topic. One of the questions from the public was therefore about “hard facts” and reliable scientific studies, which, however, evidently do not yet exist.

The selection of the panel participants reflected the far-ranging scope of the topic: young scientists Winifred Ayinpogbilla Atiah and Isabel Maldonado Cid. Atiah comes from Ghana. For her studies, she moved to a region where a different language is spoken – from the English-speaking world of Ghana to the French-speaking world of Senegal. Her colleague Maldonado Cid originally hails from Spain but has already conducted research in Germany and England and now lives and works in France. Two Nobel Laureates also spoke and fielded questions: Martin Karplus and Dan Shechtman. Karplus had to flee the Nazis in Vienna as a child and emigrate with his family to the US. Shechtman was born in Israel, conducted research in the US and later returned to his homeland.


Martin Karplus, Picture/Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

Martin Karplus, Picture/Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

Shechtman pointed out the special nature of a scientific career in Israel, where a requirement for a professorship is having done postdoc research abroad. Another particularity, he said, is that the best minds in Israel work at branches of international companies. However, the companies do not carry out manufacturing in Israel, but serve purely as research and development departments. Shechtman characterises Israel as a “start-up country”. His view is that excellent research requires excellent conditions, and during his career he would have moved wherever they were to be found – for even a scientist must be able to “grow and prosper”.

In response to an interesting question from the audience, as to whether a scientist feels a sense of obligation to the adopted country that has provided good research conditions, young scientist Isabel Maldonado Cid replied confidently that she has conducted studies and published papers in her adopted country in return. If, on the other hand, a young researcher, such as Winifred Ayinpogbilla Atiah, is mindful of how urgently expertise and research findings are needed in her homeland, that can be a strong factor in planning one’s own career. In fact, education decisions are often motivated by a desire to contribute to the progress and future of one’s native country and, after completing appropriate training, to return there. Initiatives such as the Next Einstein Forum mentioned by Atiah are important features in the research landscape in Africa. The aim of this initiative is to make African researchers more visible and to integrate them into the international science and research community.

In response to a question about his personal experience with discrimination in his new homeland, Martin Karplus was able to draw from his own life history. Karplus had emigrated to the US with his parents and his brother via Switzerland, and he has his far-sighted parents to thank for the fact that he already possessed English language skills at the time. This made his fresh start in the US easier, but he felt an indirect pressure. He did not feel really at home and had to try especially hard, i.e. demonstrate his achievements and develop a raison d’être. However, a strong desire to do something with his life proved a powerful incentive. In fact, there was a limit on the number of Jewish students eligible for enrolment in the US in 1949, and only the best were admitted. Karplus recalls that there were certain areas in which Jews were not allowed to live, meaning that they were not allowed to buy houses there. At this point, Shechtman voiced his agreement, even if the excuses given today are formulated less harshly than “I’ll show you something else; this one isn’t right for you”. Karplus can imagine that the ongoing migration of scientists to the US will change again in future and that in 20 years’ time everyone might want to move to China. China is making strong efforts to attract outstanding minds and offer them a conducive environment.

To come back to Germany, the Nazi regime and World War II had driven the research that had previously flourished in Germany (and Austria) to wrack and ruin and destroyed the former intellectual centre. At the opening of the 66th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, German Federal Minister of Education and Research Johanna Wanka reminded her audience that the Meetings were established in 1951 to help German science escape from its isolation. Today we can enjoy the fruits of those efforts, and we can see how – thanks to the young scientists – the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings are becoming increasingly more international from year to year.

Wissenschaftler als moderne Nomaden in einer globalisierten Wissenschaftswelt

„Scientists in motion: how immigration continues to shape the scientific world“ lautete das Motto des ersten Press Talks auf den 66. Lindauer Nobelpreisträgertagungen. Ein kleines, aber feines Format auf den Tagungen, das sich mittlerweile bewährt hat als Treffpunkt abseits der laufenden Lectures um Schlaglichter auf Themen rund um die Wissenschaft zu werfen, die von übergeordneter Bedeutung sind.

Auf Einladung von Physics World fanden sich die interessierten JournalistInnen und die Podiums-TeilnehmerInnen ein, um Einblicke in dieses weit gefasste Thema zu erhalten: Geht es in erster Linie um bessere Forschungsmöglichkeiten oder sind es im schlechtesten Fall die politischen Verhältnisse im Herkunftsland, die dem Wechsel vorausgehen?

Hamish Johnston, Redakteur bei Physics World, leitete die Diskussion mit einem kurzen Abriss über die Lebenswege von Physik-Nobelpreisträgern ein. Johnston hat sich die Mühe gemacht zu recherchieren, wie viele Nobelpreisträger/innen in anderen Ländern leben oder gestorben sind als ihrem Geburtsland. Das traf immerhin auf 51 Laureaten von 200 aufgeführten zu. Klarer Gewinner dieses Brain-Drain sind die USA mit dreißig Laureaten, die zu ihnen abwanderten, allein 11 aus Deutschland. Keine Frage: Das ist nur eines der vielen Schlaglichter, die man auf dieses Thema werfen kann. Und so war eine Frage aus dem Publikum auch die nach ‚harten Fakten’ und entsprechenden wissenschaftlichen Untersuchungen, die aber anscheinend noch nicht existieren.

Die Besetzung des Podiums verdeutlicht die ganze Bandbreite des Themas: Es sind die Young Scientists Winifred Ayinpogbilla Atiah und Ana Isabel Maldonado Cid. Atiah stammt aus Ghana und wechselte für ihr Studium in Senegal den Sprachraum – von der englischsprachigen Welt in Ghana in die französisch sprechende im Senegal. Ihre Kollegin Maldonado Cid stammt ursprünglich aus Spanien, hat aber schon in Deutschland und England geforscht und lebt und arbeitet aktuell in Frankreich. Zwei Nobelpreisträger stehen ebenfalls Rede und Antwort: Martin Karplus und Dan Shechtman. Karplus musste als Kind noch vor den Nationalsozialisten aus Wien flüchten und emigrierte mit seiner Familie in die USA. Shechtman wiederum wurde in Israel geboren, forschte in den USA und kehrte nach Israel zurück.

Shechtman wies auf die Besonderheit einer Wissenschaftlerkarriere in Israel hin, für die es eine Voraussetzung ist, Post-Doc-Forschung im Ausland betrieben zu haben, um später eine Professorenstelle in Israel zu erhalten. Eine weitere Besonderheit sei auch, dass die besten Köpfe in Israel in den Niederlassungen internationaler Konzerne arbeiten, aber diese Konzerne nicht in Israel produzieren lassen, sondern rein als Entwicklungsabteilungen agieren. Shechtman charakterisiert Israel als „start-up country“. Seine Position ist, dass exzellente Forschung exzellente Bedingungen braucht und er seinerseits gerne dorthin gegangen wäre, wo er diese finden konnte, denn auch ein Wissenschaftler muss ‚wachsen und gedeihen’ können.


Martin Karplus, Picture/Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

Martin Karplus, Picture/Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

Die interessante Frage aus dem Publikum, ob man denn als Wissenschaftler/in das Gefühl habe, dem Land etwas zu schulden, das einem aufgenommen hat und gute Forschungsbedingungen zur Verfügung stellte, beantwortet Young Scientist Ana Isabel Maldonado Cid ganz selbstbewusst damit, dass sie doch dafür auch Studien durchgeführt und vor Ort publiziert habe.

Wenn man andersherum als Jungforscherin wie Winifred Ayinpogbilla Atiah weiß, wie dringend die Expertise und die Forschungsergebnisse in der Heimat gebraucht werden, kann das auch ein starker Motor für die eigene Karriereplanung sein. Tatsächlich ist hier die Ausbildung oft davon motiviert, etwas für den Fortschritt und die Zukunft des Heimatlandes beizutragen und nach einer entsprechenden Ausbildung auch dorthin zurück zu kehren. Wichtig für die Forschungslandschaft in Afrika sind Initiativen wie das von Atiah erwähnte Next Einstein Forum. Dieses hat sich zum Ziel gesetzt, afrikanische WissenschaftlerInnen in der internationalen Wissenschafts- und Forschungsgemeinschaft stärker sichtbar zu machen und sie zu integrieren.

Bei der Frage nach den persönlichen Erfahrungen mit Diskriminierung in der neuen Heimat, kann Martin Karplus seine Lebensgeschichte beitragen. Karplus war mit seinen Eltern und seinem Bruder über die Schweiz in die USA gelangt und hat es seinen vorausschauenden Eltern zu verdanken, dort bereits mit Sprachkenntnissen starten zu können. Der Start in den USA fiel so leichter, aber er verspürte einen indirekten Druck. Man gehört nicht wirklich dazu und muss sich besonders anstrengen, also Leistung zeigen und sich eine Daseinsberechtigung erarbeiten. Positiv gewendet war das aber auch ein unbedingtes Verlangen etwas zu bewegen in seinem Leben. Tatsächlich gab es 1949 in den USA eine begrenzte Zulassung für jüdische Studenten und nur die Besten wurden genommen. Karplus erinnert daran, dass es bestimmte Gegenden gab, in denen Juden nicht leben durften, d.h. keine Häuser kaufen konnten. An dieser Stelle pflichtet ihm Shechtman bei, auch wenn das heute dann moderater als, „ich zeige ihnen etwas anderes, das hier passt nicht für sie“ formuliert wird. Karplus kann sich vorstellen, dass sich die bisher so große Migration von Wissenschaftlern in die USA auch wieder verändert und in zwanzig Jahren vielleicht alle nach China gehen. In China gibt es große Anstrengungen, exzellente Köpfe anzuwerben und ihnen die entsprechende Umgebung zur Verfügung zu stellen.

Um auf Deutschland zurück zu kommen: Die Herrschaft der Nationalsozialisten und der zweite Weltkrieg hatten die zuvor in Deutschland (und Österreich) florierende Forschung komplett zum Erliegen gebracht und das ehemals geistige Zentrum zerstört. Bei der Eröffnung der 66. Lindauer Nobelpreisträgertagungen erinnerte Bundesbildungsministerin Johanna Wanka daran, dass dieses Treffen 1951 etabliert wurde, um die deutsche Wissenschaft wieder aus der Isolation zu holen. Heute können die Früchte dieser Bemühungen genossen werden und wir erleben, wie die Lindauer Nobelpreisträgertagungen dank der Young Scientists von Jahr zu Jahr internationaler werden.