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Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings: "Incredibly Motivating and Inspiring"


August 17, 2022

It had to be postponed several times, but this year the Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau finally took place in person again. At Lake Constance, young top researchers from 90 countries had the opportunity to network with 30 Nobel Laureates. Two Jacobs University graduates, Nouria Jantz-Naeem and Saskia Zwilling, were selected to attend the meeting. The duo agreed that they will take the enthusiasm and fascination for science they experienced in Lindau into their everyday lives.

Panel discussions, lectures followed by Q&A sessions, group work or stage talks; the exchange between participants happened in various formats. Questions, not only about the research, but also about career development, personal experiences, setbacks or work-life balance were welcome. Even in the evenings, people met casually and continued to talk. "You sit in a room with some of the greatest scientific minds and best young researchers and you can talk to them about anything. It was incredibly motivating and inspiring," Nouria said. "You could feel the enthusiasm for science in every minute," Saskia added.

"I've been looking forward to this event for a long time, and nothing could have stopped me from taking part," added Saskia. The 23-year-old studied Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Jacobs University and is now pursuing a master's degree in Molecular Biomedicine at the University of Oldenburg. Nouria is pursuing a PhD in Molecular and Clinical Immunology at the University of Magdeburg. The 26-year-old studied Earth and Environmental Science at Jacobs University. Both were nominated for an earlier meeting, which was then postponed twice due to Corona.

Jacobs University graduates Nouria Jantz-Naeem (center) and Saskia Zwilling (right) with 2013 Nobel Prize winner Randy Schekman, biochemist and honorary doctor of Jacobs University. (Source: Jacobs University)

This year's 71st Nobel Laureate Meeting was dedicated to chemistry. "It was only in Lindau that I realized how diverse chemistry is," Saskia said. "From inorganic, organic or physical chemistry to medicine and material sciences – this diversity is incredibly fascinating." Talking to peers from all over the world was also an important aspect: "I met so many young, curious, highly motivated and interesting people who want to discover something in science or use it to make the world a little better. It was just really special!" Nouria summarized. Especially when everyone went on a boat trip to Mainau Island together: "Six hundred young scientists between the ages of 18 and 30 and a few Nobel Prize winners, all sitting on the floor, eating together. That was pretty cool," said Saskia.

Science can improve the lives of many, but the process to get there is often rocky and full of setbacks. "Learning from Nobel laureates about the long road to their findings, which are so common for us today that they are in school textbooks, really blew me away," said Nouria. "To see what science is capable of is incredibly exciting," Saskia added. "The meeting and the many encounters definitely inspired me."

Every year, Jacobs University nominates outstanding students to participate in the Nobel Laureate Meetings. For 15 years, Sebastian Springer, Professor of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, has been involved in the selection process. With his colleagues from the various disciplines, he discusses which students are particularly suitable. The proposed students are evaluated again by a team in Lindau before they receive an invitation to the meeting.
"Participation is a great experience for the students that often has a lasting impact on them," Springer is certain.

In addition to the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting which takes place annually, the Lindau Meeting on Economic Sciences takes place every three years. The 7th Lindau Meeting on Economic Sciences was originally planned in 2020, but had to be postponed due to the pandemic as well. It is now planned for August 23 – 27, and Jacobs alumnus Arijit Ghosh who was nominated to participate in 2020, will finally be able to take part. In 2019 he completed his Bachelor's degree in Global Economics and Management at Jacobs University Bremen.

Further information on the Lindau Meetings:

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