44 young Indian scientists attend Nobel Laureates meet in Germany


Lindau (Germany): Seeking fresh perspectives about research and innovation, as many as 44 next-generation Indian scientists have gathered here on the banks of the Lake Constance for extensive discussions with 39 Nobel Laureates from around the world and share their vision.

The select group is a part of the 580 young scientist contingent from 89 countries attending the 69th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting which officially opened on Sunday at this Bavarian Island.

The eminent speakers called on the next-generation of scientists to play an active role in shaping societal developments.

The meeting, being attending by 44 young Indian scientists associated with several research institutes in India and abroad, offers a lifetime opportunity to them to closely interact with Nobel Laureates from their discipline over seven days.

This year’s meeting dedicated to physics, with laser physics being the core topic, in keeping with the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Other topics include dark matter and gravitational waves, which were first detected in 2016.

“Selection to this meeting was a dream come true for me as it is a lifetime opportunity to interact with the peers in my own research area and learn from all the Nobel Laureates,” Megha Jain, who is pursuing PHD in material sciences from Patiala University in Punjab told PTI on the sidelines of the event.

“I knew about this meeting ever since I was in my masters, and have been trying to be in this august gathering for the past seven years and finally it feels great to be here,” Aditi Toshniwal, who pursued her PHD from National Institute of Technology ( NIT) Surat in Gujarat, told PTI.

“Such meetings provide a boost to researchers like me by learning from the dedication of the Nobel Laureates to stay focused on your work and not to lose hope which is key to research,” said Toshniwal.

Her research is mostly based on renewables such as perveskite solar cells.

Toshniwal and Jain noted that they are looking forward to interacting with Canadian scientist Donna Strickland, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics 2018 for generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses.

The host, Countess Bettina Bernadotte, President of the Council for the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, picked up on an appeal made by Nobel Laureate Elizabeth Blackburn in 2018 in Lindau, in which she urged scientist to adopt a global, sustainable and open approach.

“Share your vision with us and become involved!” she said.

She explained that the Lindau Meeting was conceived for exactly this purpose: as a forum for dialogue and exchange.

The meeting offers ample opportunity for the participating Nobel Laureates and young scientists to engage in extensive discussions.

A variety of programme formats will facilitate face-to-face dialogue, such as the Agora Talks, Laureate Lunches and Science Walks.

The German Federal Minister of Education and Research, Anja Karliczek emphasised the special nature of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings.

“They represent an international and globally unique forum at which scientists come together from every corner of the earth.”

In his keynote address, Australian Nobel Laureate Brian Schmidt encouraged young scientists to play a greater role in tackling societal challenges.

“There’s a multitude of problems out there,” Schmidt said.

“We scientists are the ones who must confront them. Let’s talk them out!”

The scientific programme got underway Monday, with a lecture from Strickland.

Last year, she became just the third woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Yemen’s Tawakkol Karman, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011, will speak about her experiences as a human rights activist on the last day of the meeting on Friday on Mainau Island.

The host country of this year’s Lindau Meeting, South Africa, presents itself as a research-focused nation.