Emma Beckett is a PhD Candidate in Food Science at the Human Molecular Nutrition Laboratory, School of Environmental and Life Sciences at the University of Newcastle at our Ourimbah campus. She is in Lindau, Germany, to attend the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureates meeting and this is part two of her blog.

The 65th Lindau Nobel Laureates meeting officially opened today with the grand opening ceremony. The Laureates entered to a standing ovation and Countess Bertina Bernadotte, the President of the Council of the Lindau Laureates Meeting gave a warm introduction.

Grand opening ceremony of the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureates meeting.

Grand opening ceremony of the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureates meeting. The Laureates with Countess Bertina Bernadotte.

Joachim Gauck, the German President gave a wonderful multi-faceted speech. He noted that the general public know more about the Star Wars Movies than they do about the current state of science and this we must change.

He also subtly addressed gender equality (using ‘her’ whenever he referred to a generic young scientist), scientific ethics and the politicisation of science.

Joachim Gauck, the German President. "The general public know more about the Star Wars Movies than they do about the current state of science and this we must change."

Joachim Gauck, the German President. “The general public know more about the Star Wars Movies than they do about the current state of science and this we must change.”

Laureate Edmund Fischer made the point that this meeting is not about the Laureates, its about the young scientists, and that’s why its important. Its humbling to know the Laureates are so very interested in us.

After the opening ceremony, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science , Research and Economy (btw love that combination in the ministries responsibilities- acknowledging that science and the economy are inextricably linked) hosted concert of the Ensemble of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. In a word, it was “wow!” I have never seen audience participation in an orchestra set, and it was obvious they were having great fun.

Ensemble of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

Ensemble of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

I have met a few Laureates already, and all have been extremely enthusiastic and encouraging. The Australian Academy of Science supplied us with little koalas to hand out. I’m proud to say I “koala-ed” the first Laureate of the conference Martin Chalfie – a Nobel prize winner in Chemistry for his work on the green fluorescent protein.

UON PhD candidate, Emma Beckett with Nobel Laureate Martin Chalfie - Nobel prize winner in Chemistry

UON PhD candidate, Emma Beckett with Nobel Laureate Martin Chalfie – Nobel prize winner in Chemistry

I have also learnt that tweeting at conferences works, many conversations have started because people recognise me (and my pink hair) from twitter! (Join me on Twitter @synapse101, also @uni_newcastle).

Tomorrow the official program will start. I look forward to lapping up the science, advice, stories and experience that the laureates have to share with us.