The annual Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting is an extremely prestigious 1-week event at which bright young scientists from across the globe are able to meet Nobel laureates to discuss matters of science. These meetings were initiated in 1951 to liberate German scientists from their post-war isolation. The aim was to encourage and cement networks and reduce barriers between nations. Since that time, the meeting has taken place every year in the small Bavarian town of Lindau on Lake Constance, alternating among the disciplines of medicine and
physiology, chemistry and physics. An interdisciplinary meeting revolving around all three disciplines is held every 5 years and a meeting on economics is held every 3 years.This year’s meeting attracted 580 young scientists – master’s and doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers – from 89 countries and 39 Nobel laureates. The meeting was dedicated to physics, and revolved around topics
such as cosmology, particle physics, laser physics, gravitational waves, quantum technologies, dark matter and the graphene flagship programme. Themes were addressed in the form of lectures, panel discussions, master classes and science breakfasts. The motto of the Lindau meeting is ‘Educate, inspire and connect’. In order to attend a Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting as a young scientist, applications must be submitted to a host institution such as a national academy. In the case of South Africa, this is the Academy of Science of South Africa
(ASSAf) which provides travel grants through support from the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), formerly the Department of Science and Technology. The DSI and ASSAf cover the cost of travel and logistics in
South Africa, while the Lindau Council co-funds accommodation and any medical expenses during the meeting. There is a variety of accommodation options, including hotels near the meeting venue and beyond the island, and
even staying with a host family in Lindau.This year, two of the young South African scientists who participated were Valentine Saasa and Nonkululeko
Radebe. Valentine Saasa is a PhD candidate at the CSIR and is registered for her degree at the University of Pretoria.She works on the synthesis of nanostructured chemical sensors for non-invasive monitoring of diabetes mellitus.
Nonkululeko Radebe is a PhD candidate at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany. Her research involvescombined rheo-spectroscopy techniques for hydration kinetic studies on cement paste. They respectively describe
their experiences below.