Published 29 June 2011 by Lou Woodley

On location with the Nature Video team

The Nature Video team are becoming regulars at the Lindau Nobel Laureates Meeting; each year they return to create several short films that capture conversations between the Nobel Laureates and the young scientists. Because these mentoring sessions usually take place behind closed doors, the videos are an important way of sharing the spirit of the meeting with those unable to attend. The films from 2008, 2009 and 2010 are available online.

On Monday morning I stepped out from the lectures inside the Inselhalle building onto the waterfront terrace, where I caught up with the team as they recorded an interview between Elizabeth Blackburn and two young scientists, Clare Smith and Karina Zillner. You can read last year’s interview with the team to find out more about how the laureates are paired up with researchers and the other preparations that are made for the films. Here we take a look at an interview itself.

Because the laureates are extremely busy during the week of the meeting, the film crew only has a short window of time in which to set up and capture the interview so everything needs to be carefully prepared. When I joined them, they were all set up on the terrace, doing final preparations with the young scientists as we waited for Elizabeth Blackburn to join us.


Smith comes from Tasmania, where Blackburn grew up, and her research focus is on the host-parasite interactions in malaria. By contrast, Zillner works in epigenetics and how genes are turned on or off in short repeat sequences including telomeres; Blackburn won her Nobel Prize for discovering the telomerase enzyme.  Despite working in distinct areas, Smith and Zillner formed an obvious rapport during the filming, even identifying that the lab next to Smith’s might be working on a project that would be useful to Zillner. These kinds of coincidences and connections are common at the Lindau meeting as researchers discover what a small world the scientific community really is.

No two interviews cover the same topics and each has its own particular “chemistry” – Blackburn, Smith and Zillner’s chat was wide-ranging and involved subjects from collaboration in science to influences they each experienced when growing up, as well as how to maintain a successful work-life balance.


The Video team will now edit their footage so don’t forget to check back in September to see the final versions of all the films captured during this week. The first film will be available on September 22nd.

Lou Woodley