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Source of inspiration

Charles Breeze, a PhD student in the Birney group at EMBL-EBI and the Beck lab at University College London, writes about finding inspiration at the Lindau Nobel Laureate meeting

Annual Lindau Nobel Laureate meeting is a highlight of the scientific calendar. PHOTO: Charles Breeze

The Lindau Nobel Laureate meeting is an annual highlight of the global scientific community, where some of the most prominent and influential scientists in the world meet hundreds of talented young scientists and engage in discussions about pressing issues affecting society. Held in the small town of Lindau, Germany, the meetings have grown from a promising intellectual gathering (initially arranged in 1951 by Franz Karl Hein, Count Lennart Bernadotte and Gustav Parade) to a global encounter that is covered by broadcast and print media from every corner of the world.

Charles Breeze, left, with friends at the 2014 Lindau Nobel Laureates meeting. PHOTO: Charles Breeze
Breeze, left, with friends at the 2014 Lindau Nobel Laureates meeting. PHOTO: Charles Breeze

Thanks to support from the European Commission, I attended the meeting this year as a representative of the Marie Curie Actions research fellowship programme, which funds my PhD at the Beck lab at University College London in collaboration with Ewan Birney’s group at EMBL-EBI.

One of the most inspiring people I met at the meeting was Oliver Smithies, a Nobel Laureate best known for his contributions to gel electrophoresis and gene targeting. He gave us some useful advice: most notably, to share our science openly. For one of every hundred people who might copy us, he said, we would miss a chance to influence or motivate 99 who share our passion for science.

For one of every hundred people who might copy us, he said, we would miss a chance to influence or motivate 99 who share our passion for science.

Oliver Smithies' presentation – Where Do Ideas Come From? – was particularly inspiring. Watch the video  CREDIT: Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting Mediatheque
Oliver Smithies’ presentation – Where Do Ideas Come From? – was particularly inspiring. Watch the video CREDIT: Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings Mediatheque

I will never forget the yacht trip delegates took to Mainau, known as the flower island. We set off from the port at Lindau, crossing Lake Constance under the clear morning skies, with the snow-capped Alps in the backdrop. Upon arrival we were greeted with a view of the island’s stunning 18th century castle, looming over the cliffs above. The experience was unforgettable and has reinforced my passion and motivation for science.

Tags: Science and Society, Training

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