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Pünktlichkeit, Gastfreundschaft, Gemütlichkeit. Three German expressions all 500 young researchers traveling to Lindau should keep in their active vocabulary. How are these 500 selected anyway?

Even though it is called the “Nobel Laureate Meeting”, the vast majority of attendants are young researchers. In addition to the 23 old men, there are going to be 500 young PhD students in Lindau. These are a selected few. 20 000 students apply every year.

Each applicant has to be nominated by partnering organizations, such as their home universities. These national organizations forward a shortlist of 1500 candidates to the council workgroup, which then make their final selections based on this pool of best talents and finally choosing the 500 top applicants to receive an invitation to Lindau.

The actual selection criteria are still somewhat obscure to me. Is it their curriculum, is it the letter of motivation, is it the photo on the application letter? I’ll ask some students why they think they have been selected, once I am in Lindau.

Speaking of which: I am still pretty busy here in Barcelona, and will only take a late flight tomorrow evening to arrive at the venue around midnight. A phone call with the hotel I am staying at revealed the extraordinary flexibility Germans are known for world-wide. The hotel desk closes at 10 pm and the hotel manager made it clear to me, that I would be disturbing all other guests, arriving two hours later.

Only my remark that I travel light and do not intend to be noisy with my suitcase in the staircase, climbing up to my room forced her to make some kind of compromise: I have to call again, once I landed. To hear what? That I have to camp in the garden? It is good to be sometimes reminded why I, as native German, live in Spain.


It feels weird. On the one hand, I am a researcher myself, having passed my PhD exam three years ago, and on the other hand I am attending this meeting as “press”, because I sometimes write stuff on my blog.

Apparently I get to interview at least two laureates. What kind of questions do I ask them? The ones I am personally interested in as a scientist, or the ones I think readers of this blog might like to read about? Maybe both. I won’t ask: how did you feel when you received the Nobel Prize. Promised.

I am sure it is going to be an exciting week and I will certainly enjoy my stay in Lindau. That is, if I do not have to camp in the garden of my hotel.

Photos via flickr 1, 2, 3 (cc)

 » Tobias Maier ist Biochemiker und forscht als Postdoc am CRG in Barcelona.
 » Er führt das Blog WeiterGen auf ScienceBlogs

Kommentare (2)

  1. #1 Marc
    Juni 28, 2009

    Laß mal Dein Zelt schön in Barcelona. Das bekommen wir schon hin, auch wenn das Hotelpersonal sich als wenig entgegenkommend zeigt. Ich werde jedenfalls – wie es sich gehört 😉 – bereits am Mittag ankommen. Eventuell könnte ich doch auch Deinen Zimmerschlüssel abholen? Über Details können wir ja noch per Mail kommunizieren.

    Und auf Deine Interviews bin ich sehr, sehr gespannt. Auch wenn ich es fast einmal spaßig fände, wenn man ein Interview mit einem Nobelpreisträger ganz im Stile eines Sportjournalisten führen würde. Angefangen vom obligatorischen: “Wie fühlen sie sich?” bis zum abschließenden Statement des Laureaten, der irgendwas in Richtung “Das nächste Paper ist immer das schwierigste…” von sich geben muß. ;-D

  2. #2 Sarah Schuebl
    Juni 28, 2009

    Hello, quite tricky to ask some questions that are truly unique, but what about these here…

    – what was your greatest achievement (personally or professionally) APART from the Nobel Price?
    – what did you want to become when you were a child?
    – whom would you like to meet if YOU could choose among other (any) Nobel Price Laureates and why?
    – what was your biggest motivation to continue your experiments?

    … questions that really reveal WHO they are… and what is important to them. apart of course some scientific questions !

    see you around Lindau! enjoy the conference,