This last July, three Lab scientists rubbed virtual elbows with Nobel Laureates from around the world at this year’s Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. Lindsay Bassman (CSA), Marlene Turner (PSA), and Michael Whitaker (EESA), participated in the event from June 27 to July 2, as part of a UC program. They came away with new knowledge and fresh inspiration.
For Marlene Turner, the meeting was full of ideas and excitement. “I loved hearing from people who have mastered their field and also cared to share their expertise,” she said. “One of the most compelling lectures I attended was from Sir Anthony Leggett on why time can’t run backwards. I also learned about how antibiotics work, why we know that there is a black hole at the center of our galaxy, how dark matter shapes our universe, and how artificial intelligence thinks.”
Michael Whitaker decided to attend lectures by scientists outside his field. He was struck by Kip Thorne who won the Nobel prize for his work on gravitational waves. “His work on how black holes warp space time changed all thinking about space-time,” he said. “Thorne had the ability to ask, ‘What if the fundamental understanding was wrong?’ and then took an imaginative leap in his response to the question.”
Michael was also surprised by how many paths there are to a Nobel prize. “There were so many different stories. Another Nobel Laureate who was recognized for his work on gravitational waves, Barry Barish, got his inspiration from scientists who worked on electromagnetic waves 100 years ago. The process they used to develop their theory inspired his own approach.”
The Lindau Nobel Laureate meeting was a unique opportunity to hear directly from some of the best scientific minds of our time. As Marlene said, “It almost makes me wish time could run backwards, so that I could relive the excitement I felt at the meeting.”
Applications are now being accepted for the 2022 UC President’s Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting Fellows. Selected fellows will attend the Lindau Chemistry Meeting to be held from June 26 through July 1, 2022.