69th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

Dr. Jan Philip Kolb, a young scientist from Lübeck, took part

The 69th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting has concluded successfully. 580 young scientists from 89 countries met with 39 Nobel laureates until 5th July and engaged in scientific discussion and exchange. Dr. Jan Philip Kolb from the Institute of Biomedical Optics at the University of Lübeck was among the attendees.

At the official opening of the meeting in the Inselhalle Lindau on 30 June, the speakers appealed to the next generation of scientists to actively shape the development of society. Following the topic cycle, this year’s programme is dedicated to physics. Appropriately, in light of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics, laser physics is a key topic. Other themes include dark matter and gravitational waves, the existence of which was first proved in 2016.

Dr. rer. nat. Jan Philip Kolb obtained his doctorate with the summa cum laude distinction in Lübeck in 2018 for his work on “Improvement and use of ultra-fast optical coherence tomography on the human eye”. He has been awarded numerous prizes for lectures and posters at leading international fairs. He successfully applied for a renowned post-doc grant for translational research and conducted research as part of a project at the Medical Laser Center Lübeck.

A unique forum for international exchange

In her welcoming address, Countess Bettina Bernadotte, the event’s host and President of the Council for the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, referred to an appeal made by the Nobel Prize Winner Elizabeth Blackburn in Lindau in 2018 for the scientific community to adopt a global, sustainable and open approach: “Together with Liz Blackburn, we have developed a draft for a ‘Lindau Declaration’,” she announced to the gathered scientists. “Share your vision with us and become involved!” She explained that the Lindau Meeting was conceived for exactly this purpose: as a forum for dialogue and exchange.

The German Federal Minister of Education and Research Anja Karliczek emphasised the importance of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings: “They represent an international and globally unique forum at which scientists come together from every corner of the earth. This is why the event is held in increasingly high regard, both in Germany and abroad. Not only will important bridges be built in Lindau between nations and cultures, but networks will be established that go on to last generations. Where else can young scientists engage so directly with Nobel Laureates? Only Lindau can offer that.” The Federal Ministry of Education and Research is among the Lindau Meetings’ largest supporters.

Key topic laser physics, host country South Africa

In his keynote address, Australian Nobel Laureate Brian Schmidt encouraged young scientists to play a greater role in tackling challenges in society: “There’s a multitude of problems out there. We scientists are the ones who must confront them. Let’s talk them out!”

The scientific programme got under way on Monday, with a lecture from physicist Donna Strickland, who last year became only the third woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. Yemen’s Tawakkol Karman, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011, complemented the array of natural scientists. She spoke about her experiences as a human rights activist on the last day of the meeting on Mainau Island. 

The host country of this year’s Lindau Meeting, South Africa, presented itself on the International Day – traditionally held on the Monday of the meeting – as a research-focused nation. Various aspects of the programme, including Agora Talks, Laureate Lunches, and Science Walks helped to facilitate personal dialogue.

The traditional “Laureates waving” at the opening of the 2019 Lindauer Meeting (Photo: Patrick Kunkel / Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings) Arrival of the young scientists from 89 countries at the Inselhalle in Lindau (Photo: Ch. Flemming / Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings) Dr. Jan Philip Kolb (Photo: BMO / University of Lübeck)