The 66th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting was inaugurated today in Lindau on the banks of Lake Constance, Germany. Countess Bettina Bernadotte af Wisborg, President of the Council, welcomed the guests who hail from some 80 different countries.
30 Nobel Laureates and more than 400 selected young scientists are taking part in the meeting, which runs until 1 July. This year it is dedicated to the field of physics. One of the key programme points is the question of whether quantum technology is the technology of the future in the 21st century. Particle physics is also a focal topic - prominent speakers on the subject include the Laureates Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. McDonald, who were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics 2015 for the discovery of neutrino oscillations, which proves that neutrinos have mass.
"Innovation depends on knowledge transfer, inspiration and collaboration, which is why our mission is 'Educate. Inspire. Connect.'", said Countess Bettina Bernadotte af Wisborg, President of the Council. In her opening address, she emphasised that the Nobel Laureates are keen to encourage up-and-coming young scientists in their careers and help them to network with each other. Students, PhD candidates and postdocs from around the globe applied to take part in the internationally renowned meeting.
Austrian Federal President Heinz Fischer addressed the meeting participants - as this year's host country, Austria is presenting itself as a research location. Singapore's President Tony Tan Keng Yam was also among the guests as a member of the Honorary Senate of the Foundation Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings. Germany was represented by Federal Minister Johanna Wanka - the German Ministry of Education and Research being one of the meetings's prime supporters.
In his speech, Wolfgang Schürer stressed the importance of intergenerational dialogue. The present generations would have to accept the future and ensure that in decisions of today the consequences for future generations are taken into account. Addressing the young scientists, Schürer said: "During the discussions, if you spot a vacant chair, don't think it is empty. Imagine the chair is occupied by a member of a generation yet-to-come and think what he or she would like discussed."
In his role as chairman of the board of directors of the Foundation, Wolfgang Schürer had been a key source of impetus for the evolution of the meetings and instrumental in ensuring their continued existence since the year 2000. His successor, Jürgen Kluge, who assumed the chairmanship at the start of this year, paid tribute to Schürer's outstanding service on behalf of the board of directors: Schürer was appointed Honorary Chairman. And on behalf of the entire Council, Countess Bettina Bernadotte awarded him the golden Lennart Bernadotte Medal, named after her father Count Lennart Bernadotte af Wisborg, the first President of the Council, co-founder of the meetings and long-time spiritus rector.
In the days leading up to Friday, 1 July, the Nobel Laureates and young scientists will have ample opportunity for knowledge sharing on an intensive scale. Numerous lectures, discussions, master classes and panel discussions are on the agenda. To wrap up the meeting on Friday, delegates are invited on a boat trip hosted by the German Federal State of Baden-Württemberg over to the Mainau Island on Lake Constance. Here, a panel discussion on the future of scientific education will focus on crucial aspects of the support of young scientists.
The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings have been hosted on the banks of Lake Constance every year since 1951. Owing to the continuing renovation of the local conference hall, which is expected to be completed in 2017, this year's meeting is taking place in Lindau's city theatre. The number of participants has therefore been reduced from the usual 600 to 400.