Young Researcher from Ateneo de Manila University Meets 35 Nobel Laureates

  • 63rd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting from 30 June to 5 July 2013 
  • 35 laureates and more than 600 young researchers from nearly 80 countries 
  • Green Chemistry is a central topic

The first week of July will see 35 Nobel Laureates congregate at Lake Constance in Germany to meet the next generation of leading scientists and researchers at the 63rd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. More than 600 young researchers from nearly 80 countries will be part of this special convention – among them Rene Angelo Macahig, a 32-year-old Assistant Professor from the Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines, who is looking forward to the scientific exchange in Lindau: “As a young scientist and a Filipino, it will be an immensely galvanizing experience to be able to participate in the Lindau Meeting, interact with some of the brightest minds in the world and be inspired by a generation of Nobel laureates who have pushed the frontiers of science and expanded our understanding of the universe.”

The German Chemistry Nobel Laureate Hartmut Michel, speaking about his 16th attendance at a Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, emphasises this exchange: ‘‘I am impressed and carried away by the competence, curiosity and energy of the young participants – networking, discussing, asking the right questions. This makes me think confidently about the perspectives of a global scientific community.’’ The concept of Green Chemistry will be among the central topics at the Lindau Meeting, but the many lectures and discussions will also focus on the generation, conversion and storage of energy, as well as on biochemical processes and structures.

Beginning with a festive opening ceremony on Sunday, 30 June, which will be attended by many honorary guests from science, politics and business, and ending with the farewell of all participants on Friday, 5 July, the meeting week will be will be filled with sessions and events, both rich and abundant. As a perfect way to start the day, the participants are invited to science breakfasts, each featuring a scientific subject. In the course of the mornings, a total of 30 Nobel Laureates will give their lectures, the topics of which they offer to discuss with the young researchers later in the afternoons in separate sessions. A distinguishing feature and integral element of the Lindau Meetings is that the participating Nobel Laureates can freely select and specify their lecture and discussion topics. This results in the broad spectrum of the scientific programme of each meeting.

In three master classes a few selected participants will have the unique opportunity to present their own research to a laureate. For young scientists at the beginning of their careers hardly any feedback could be more valuable. In turn, the laureates experience the open exchange of ideas with the young researchers in the unconstrained atmosphere of the Lindau Meetings as both inspiring and informative.

This year’s meeting will end with a panel discussion on the concept of “Green Chemistry”, which aims to make chemical production as resource-sparing, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly as possible. Detrimental raw materials and final products are to be avoided, waste will be reduced and the risk of accidents will be minimised. The panelists will be Nobel Laureate Steven Chu (USA) and Mario Molina (Mexico) as well as the German chemist Michael Braungart. The physicist Chu served as Secretary of Energy in the first term of US President Barack Obama’s administration. The chemist Molina is one of the most prominent precursors to the discovery of the ozone hole and he was one of the first to elucidate the threat to the Earth’s ozone layer from chlorofluorocarbon gases. Braungart is a developer of the “cradle to cradle” concept for sustainable resource circulation. The idea of sustainability has characterised and defined the Lindau Meetings since their inception. The impact of the debates on the importance and the responsibility of science and research extends far beyond the group of meeting participants and reaches society as a whole.

Living-up to their leitmotif “Mission Education” since 1951, the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings have evolved into an internationally respected forum for scientific debate on issues of global importance and have gained numerous partners and supporters around the world. The meetings originated from the initiative of the two Lindau physicians Franz Karl Hein and Gustav Wilhelm Parade, and Count Lennart Bernadotte, a member of the Swedish royal family. The first meeting in 1951 – a medical congress attended by seven Nobel Laureates from Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States and Germany – was an important stimulus for scientists to resume contact with each other after World War II.