LINDAU, Germany--An astronomer once told me about how he was often miserable growing up as the picked-on nerd. Nobody, he said, had ever told him the big secret: that if you stick with science, you win. You will have a fascinating career, meet and collaborate with intelligent and passionate people, and even get to travel to do it. I thought of him during the opening ceremonies here for the 60th annual Nobel Laureate Meeting at Lindau, Germany. For the special anniversary, the multidisciplinary meeting draws together 62 laureates and more than 675 young scientists from 70 countries for a week of lectures, inspiration and sharing ideas.
Science is a tool, a common language that lets us look differently at problems: “The idea is to look at it together,” summarized Aaron Ciechanover, the 2004 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, during the Sunday afternoon opening ceremony. Toward that end, impressively, the meeting organizers sought to create “the most international Lindau meeting ever,” with emphasis on bringing in large numbers of scientists from developing nations, and on attempting to balance representatives from different disciplines and even gender (42 percent are women).
In between sessions, I will post updates to this blog. Learn more at Scientific American's sister publication Nature, and a special web site featuring Lindau blogs, organized by Nature and Spectrum der Wissenshaft, Scientific American ’s German language edition. A slide show, Discoveries 2010: Energy, covers another Lindau initiative, a museum exhibit on energy sources.