This year’s Lindau meeting has brought together over 550 young scientists from around the world from countries including Germany, Kenya, the US, Egypt, India and South Africa. The often repeated motto at Lindau is “educate, inspire, connect” and although the temperamental wifi in the Inselhalle conference centre means that connections of the digital variety are not always a success, the range of scheduled discussions and social events promise plenty of in-person opportunities for the attendees to get to know each other and the Nobel laureates.
So who are the attendees at this year’s meeting? What do they have in common and what are they hoping to gain from this intense once-in-a-lifetime invitation? You can hear from six of the attendees in their video diary updates. In addition, in the run up to this weekend, Scientific American has been profiling 30 of the young scientists attending Lindau. In the "30 under 30" series of short interveiws, each of the 30 attendees were asked the same questions including what they’re working on in their research, where they see themselves in the future and who their scientific heroes are.
"There is certainly a "wow!" factor to meeting any Nobelist"
Common to them all is an excitement at the opportunity to talk with the laureates: "there is certainly a "wow!" factor to meeting any Nobelist" – Eduard Rusu and "I am eager to ask Nobel laureates their thoughts on improving science education and discussion how science can be better communicated to the public." – Merideth Frey.
"I do not have a particular scientific hero. In general I carry great admiration for any researcher who has made a long-lasting imprint on a wide breadth of disciplines."
However, when talking about scientific heroes, the answers are more wide-ranging. Several mention notable figures such as Albert Einstein who was "one scientist I consider an all-rounder, and Richard Feynman who was "not only a brilliant scientist, but a brilliant conveyor of science." Another attendee explains "I do not have a particular scientific hero. In general I carry great admiration for any researcher who has made a long-lasting imprint on a wide breadth of disciplines." The most original answer though, is probably this from Ulrika Forsberg: "a more "understandable" role model that I grew up with was MacGyver from the 1980s TV series of the same name, who seemed to solve just any problem by knowing a lot about everything."
"I hope to be up to date on whatever technology is in active use, to know how it works but to still go backpacking without it."
When asked to consider where they’ll be in 10 years time, the vast majority still hope to be in academic science, running their own labs. Probably my favourite answer though was from Claire Thomas who "will be a scientist, but it is almost impossible to say where science will be at that time so I cannot imagine my options and certainly not my choice. I hope to be up to date on whatever technology is in active use, to know how it works but to still go backpacking without it."
Check out all the interviews in the series here and note all the interesting hobbies mentioned too! From competitive equestrian sports to ballet, being a pilot to bike rides, this year’s attendees are certainly an interesting group.