By Dr Lee Jia Min
Established in 1951 by physicians Dr Franz Karl Hein and Professor Dr Gustav Wilhelm Parade, and Count Lennart Bernadotte af Wisborg, a member of the Swedish royal family, the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting is a global event that serves as a platform for exchange between Nobel Laureates and young scientists worldwide.
Following a rigorous selection process, 600 young scientists from around the world were chosen for the 71st Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, held from 26 June to 1 July 2022 in the charming town of Lindau, Germany. I was honoured and pleasantly surprised to be one of those chosen to attend.
Immersing in the beauty of Lindau, Germany, at the 71st Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. Credit: Dr Goh Choon Fu.
Engaging with young minds
The 71st Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting was the first in-person meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s event, dedicated to chemistry, brought together young scientists from different disciplines such as chemistry, biochemistry, artificial intelligence, material sciences and physics.
The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting enabled scientists from different disciplines to get together and discuss scientific questions. Credit: Dr Lin Qianyu and Dr Goh Choon Fu.
It was an intense week of networking and learning. Scientific discussions took place formally, during lectures given by Nobel Laureates, and informally, over good food and wine.
Curious about the advances in the field of chemistry, which form the backbone of my research in 3D printing, I enjoyed discussing the applications of chemistry in healthcare, green energy, and sustainability with young scientists and Nobel Laureates. Despite our different backgrounds, we bonded over a shared passion for research.
Our discussions revolved around how research in chemistry could benefit humanity, such as developing bioinspired materials that mimic materials found in nature. These conversations opened my eyes to innovations and opportunities outside my field of research.
Words from the wise
I also had the privilege of meeting Prof Peter Agre, recipient of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Chemistry; Prof Ben Feringa, who won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry; and Prof William Jr Kaelin, one of the winners of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology.
I was inspired by Prof Agre’s vision to align his research and humanitarian goals and continuously strive for innovation in addressing global health issues.
One memorable moment was when I asked Prof Feringa if he had used the molecular machines that he had developed as biosensors. “We have not tried. But it is not impossible.” was his reply.
As a young scientist, I was especially encouraged by his enthusiasm for research that pushed the boundaries of knowledge.
Other words of wisdom came from Prof Kaelin, who said that a young scientist should have “A curious mind, a sparkle in the eyes, a passionate heart.”
Meeting Nobel Laureates Prof Peter Agres (top left), Prof Ben Feringa (top right), Prof William Jr. Kaelin (bottom, second from left). Credit: Dr Lee Jia Min.
Besides scientific exchange, we were treated to traditional dances, food and music which featured the Bavarian culture of the region. These activities were a reminder that science is an international effort and left the participants with fond memories of the meeting.
Scenes from the cultural exchanges at the meeting. Credit: Dr Lee Jia Min.
Being a part of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting strengthened my passion for interdisciplinary research. I also cherish the friendships and connections that I have made.
From my experiences at the meeting, I would like to leave young scientists with this piece of advice of my own:
“Don’t be afraid to reach out and make new connections. Explore different disciplines to help shape your thinking and inspire innovative ideas.”