MPSD scientist comes up close and personal with Nobel Laureates at annual Lindau Meeting

MPSD post doc and Humboldt fellow Ankit Disa has spent a week networking with Nobel Laureates and hundreds of other scientists at the prestigious annual Lindau Meeting. “I came back energized and more confident to pursue my interest in science,” says Disa, from Andrea Cavalleri’s Condensed Matter Department.

Young scientists at lunch with Gérard Mourou

Ankit and 580 young scientists from around the world were invited to mingle with 39 Nobel Laureates at this year’s Lindau Meeting on physics: an annual event which gives those at the start of their careers unparalleled access to the biggest names in science.

Georg Bednorz at an 'open exchange' talk

It is a unique and highly unusual mentoring opportunity. From tiny informal meetings to large lectures, ‘science walks’ and career panels – the Lindau exchanges happen in many ways under the overarching motto “Educate. Inspire. Connect.”

“I had conversations with 15 to 20 Nobel Laureates,” says Ankit, who works on the design and control of novel electronic and magnetic phases in complex oxide heterostructures.

“They are extremely approachable. I was in a very small group of five or six people with Georg Bednorz and it turned into a very personal discussion about each person’s research work and their life as a scientist.”

Wolfgang Ketterle in conversation

Among the Nobel Laureates at this year’s Lindau Meeting were Donna Strickland and Gérard Mourou, Rainer Weiss, Duncan Haldane, Michael Kosterlitz and Wolfgang Ketterle. All the leading scientists shared their experience very generously, says Ankit:

“There was lots of information on things that are important at this point in my career, on how to do your science. We were encouraged to keep working on what’s interesting to us, to let the science lead us. And there was plenty of time to mix with all the other young scientists.”

Donna Strickland in discussion with her audience

Wolfgang Ketterle gave particular advice on how to maintain a work-life balance, especially when a scientific problem takes up weeks or months to solve. Ankit also appreciated the exchanges with other young physicists from different fields. “Often they know nothing about lasers or materials, so you have to think about how to translate what you do. And, sometimes you find people working on something different entirely giving you insight on your work.”

Ankit’s nomination for the Lindau Meeting from the Humboldt Foundation was backed by the MPSD. Next year’s gathering is an interdisciplinary one, involving the three natural science Nobel Prize disciplines: physiology and medicine as well as physics and chemistry. 

Young scientists can be nominated by the Lindau partner institutions in September and October 2019. An “Open Application” process runs from 26 August until 11 September 2019. More information can be found on www.lindau-nobel.org

Boat trip to Mainau Island
The Bavarian evening at the Lindau Meeting
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