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Next stop: Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

For the 73rd time, the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting will be arranged. It takes place 30 June–5 July 2024 in Bayern, Germany, by the beautiful Bodensee. One of the participants this year is NanoLund PhD student Ruby Davtyan.

Evelina Lindén – Published 25 June 2024

Photo of hundreds of people in a large room.
One of the things the Lindau Meeting participants had the opportunity to experience in 2023 was a boat trip to Mainau. Photo: Julia Nimke/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings are internationally renowned conferences, attended annually by about 30–40 Nobel Laureates and some of the most promising young scientists from all over the world. Alternating between the disciplines Physics, Chemistry, and Physiology or Medicine, the Lindau Meetings are a unique opportunity to educate, inspire, and connect beyond cultural and political boundaries for the leading scientists of tomorrow. 

This year, the scientific programme’s focus is on three key themes: Quantum Physics and Quantum Technologies, Physics-based Solutions to the Energy Challenge, and Artificial Intelligence in Physics.

How did you learn about the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings?

“My supervisor, Heiner Linke, suggested that I’d apply. I don’t know whether I would have had the confidence to apply without his suggestion.”

When and how did you find out you were among the chosen ones – and how did you react?

“The selection process involved multiple steps: the initial round of applications from Sweden was managed by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. I was informed early on that I had passed that stage. Then, the final selection was conducted by the Lindau Meeting committee. I was extremely anxious to check my emails, worried that I might not be selected, and tried to prepare myself mentally for the tough competition, reminding myself that it would be okay if I didn’t get in. However, the outcome was positive, and I am so happy to have been selected.”

Congratulations! Now when it’s just a few days left, how do you feel about the trip to Lindau?

“It is very unreal. Exciting. A bit scary. I am absolutely overjoyed.”

What do you expect to learn from the Nobel Laureate Meeting?

“It is fantastic how many amazing scientists will be present. It is exciting to hear and learn about their groundbreaking discoveries and how they have transformed science. I want to learn about the evolution and development of science, the paths of Nobel Laureates, their challenges, and, of course, the joy they experienced during their journeys of exploration and discovery.”

Which one of the three key themes do you think will interest you more?

“There are sooo many interesting topics, it is hard to choose only three things, but I will try. As a biophysicist, the session titled Physics will shape the Biology of the Future is very intriguing. I am also looking forward to the panel discussion about how the AI will shape the future of scientific discovery, and of course, the scientific lunch, where a small group of students meets with a Nobel Laureate over lunch. And it was one of the craziest and most difficult things to do – to figure out with whom you want to talk from extremely talented, accomplished scientists from whom you can learn so much.”

Can you tell us a little about how your interest in physics started?

“For as long as I can remember, I wanted to know how nature and objects work, and I kept asking questions to my parents, teachers, and myself, and, naturally, took toys to figure out how they function. Math was always my favorite subject, and I had a strong interest in the natural sciences, but I wanted to become either a criminal defense lawyer, or investigator or study politics. So, I chose the Social Sciences path in high school, but already after a few months, I realized how much I missed Math and Physics – especially the never-ending problem-solving aspects and the constant exploration of natural phenomena. That was the moment I knew that I wanted to become a physicist. I still consider it one of the best decisions I have made.”

How did you end up at NanoLund in Sweden?

“After earning my master’s degree in Germany, I explored both academia and industry, checked off many items on my non-academic bucket list, and eventually realized that I wanted to pursue a PhD. I’ve always admired the culture of Nordic countries, particularly their musical traditions and art-house cinema, so Sweden was one of the first places I considered. I interviewed for positions across Northern Europe but ultimately chose NanoLund. I was particularly impressed with my current group and NanoLund as a whole: previous doctoral students shared their experiences, and we had a fascinating lab tour, albeit online due to the pandemic. It seemed to be a great place, academically and socially, and it continues to feel that way to this day.”

What instructions have you got from the meeting organisers – what are you supposed to bring, prepare, or think of before leaving?

“Not many instructions. We have the programme with scheduled sessions. There will be not only lectures and panel discussions, but also meetings with partner companies and organizations. We received some dress code information and how to get there. I guess we are expected to take good scientific vibes!”

The Lindau Meetings

PhD student Ruby Davtyan in 2023, receiving an award for the poster “Lightguiding nanowires for single molecule detection with TIRF-level sensitivity”. Photo: Evelina Lindén