The meeting has a very broad and intense agenda, with every day full of different scientific activities. In the morning, we had lectures by the Nobel laureates, followed by agora talks - a new format where a Nobel laureate gives a short lecture followed by a discussion session. In the afternoon, we followed panel discussions and had a unique opportunity to ask Nobel laureates any question in the open exchange sessions. Even the meals were scientific! Science breakfasts, lunches with Nobel laureates, and open panel dinners. What a week!
Lindau is an exceptional little island in beautiful lake Constance, where once a year Nobel laureates gather to meet bright young scientists from all over the world. The meeting started back in 1951, and has happened every year since then. This year’s 69th Lindau Nobel Laureates meeting was dedicated to Physics. 39 Nobel laureates and 580 young scientist from 89 countries gathered together to, as the slogan of the meeting reads, “educate, inspire and connect”.
I was selected to present my work in an electronic poster to my fellow participants. It was very nice to see other young scientists working in different fields being so interested in the research I do at CERN. I had a chance to talk to David Gross, one of the founders of the Standard Model, a theory that governs particle physics, and learn about his hopes and views on the future of particle physics.
During this week, I was very lucky to not only engage in conversations with Nobel laureates but also participate in additional partner events. I had a chance to attend a science dinner sponsored by Mars, Inc. The topic was the desperate situation the oceans on Earth are facing due to human-caused damage, and what are the best ways to save them. Mars, Inc. showed the first results on their project to restore coral reefs, discussed the future directions of work, and shared their views on how each and every one of us can help the planet. This science dinner was very inspiring and motivating, and definitely one of the highlights for me.
Another very memorable experience was a Zeppelin flight over beautiful lake Constance and Lindau island with the Nobel laureate Brian Schmidt. Zeppelin-NT is a unique airship that flies very smoothly and can even park in the air. These special features make it a perfect airship for atmospheric and oceanic research. Prof. Burkard Baschek from the Helmholtz Association taught us about his expedition Clockwork Ocean and shared the first findings. It was also a wonderful opportunity to ask Nobel laureate Brian Schmidt about his work as a scientist and his role as the vice chancellor of Australian National University in a less formal atmosphere.
At the end of the week, we celebrated the diversity of this unique meeting with a Bavarian night where people wore national costumes. Being originally from Russia, I chose to wear a dress that has a style and design of famous Russian blue-and-white porcelain, called “Gzhel”.
In summary, the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting was most certainly the most inspiring, educational and unforgettable experience of my scientific career and life so far. I am very grateful to ETH Zurich and in particular to Prof. Kurt Wüthrich for nominating me and providing me with such a unique opportunity.
About the author
Nadezda Chernyavskaya studied High Energy Physics in a joint M.Sc. program between ETH Zürich and École Polytechnique Paris. She is now a doctoral student in the group of Prof. Günther Dissertori at the Institute for Particle Physics and Astrophysics at ETH Zürich. She is conducting research in particle physics at collider experiments at CERN. As one of 580 young scientists, she was selected to attend the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting 2019, dedicated to Physics.