It’s the Nobel season in the island town of Lindau in southern Germany, where every year around this time, Nobel laureates gather to interact, inspire and to some extent mentor, young researchers from all over the world.
The meeting that started 58 years ago with seven Nobel laureates from three countries has expanded to 580 young researchers from 67 countries with 23 Nobel laureates from chemistry.
This time it’s even differtent because India is the partner country and a record number of participants -- 45-- have come from India, courtesy Department of Science and Technology.
It all started with the former S&T minister Kapil Sibal participating in the by-now-famous Lindau Meetings last year and committed India’s participation in 2009. On June 28 Sibal was also formally inducted into the haloed Honorary Senate of the Foundation Lindau Nobelprinzewinners Meetings along with the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
Sibal accepted the membership with his characteristic eloquence. His position assumes more significance as the the Nobel Committee’s stated goal is: Mission Education, and Sibal, in his new capacity as the Union Minister of Human Resources Development, is all set to bring some transformation in the Indian education system. (At least he’s started with some stated objectives.)
Today being the first day, the awe and reverence for the Laureates is palpable. I had tough time figuring out how to recognise them -- it turns out the key to that is the colour of the ’key chains’. Nobel laureates are wearing light blue, while others are struttng around in orange, red, grey, white, black and yellow (media).
As I write this post, some 600 guests are enjoying Indian food at the ’luncheon tent’ to the loud beats of Jai ho... and Darde disco... and I have a tough time explaining what the song means to the Israeli and Brazilian theoretical chemists sitting next to me.
More on why and how chemistry, the seemingly and famously boring subject, in a later post. With more photos and soundbites.