Grad student Marco David invited to attend the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

May 15, 2024

Marco David on the UC Berkeley campus

Graduate Student Marco David. Photo: Sarah Wittmer

Each year, between 30 and 40 Nobel Laureates gather in Lindau, Germany, to meet the next generation of scientists — some 600 undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from around the world — for an active exchange of ideas, knowledge and experience.

First year Berkeley Physics graduate student Marco David is one of those invited to attend this year's 73rd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, devoted to physics, from June 30 to July 5. Below, David explains how he was invited to participate in this unique opportunity, and shares his excitement around the upcoming event.

Application to the Lindau meetings is by nomination only in most countries. In 2020, I was in the last year of my Bachelor's in Physics at Jacobs University Bremen in Germany (now Constructor University) and was nominated by my professors there.

After I was accepted, the meeting was cancelled and moved to an entirely online format in Summer 2021, but all the young scientists were promised to be invited again to their respective field's subject meeting the following years: Chemistry in 2022, Physiology/Medicine in 2023, and now it's finally time for Physics in 2024 (the 73rd Lindau meeting!). As you can imagine, the online experience, which is much more linear, formal, and somewhat robotic, does not compare at all to the dynamic interactions that typically occur in much smaller groups than on Zoom. I'm beyond excited about meeting in-person more than 30 Nobel Laureates from all fields of physics, but equally about meeting my peer young scientists from literally all over the world!

In addition to discussing basic research, from string theory to semi-conductors and complex systems, its applications in medical or environmental research or artificial intelligence will be an exciting fucus of the conference. Most importantly, however, I want to learn much more about and also challenge our role as physicists in today's global challenges. The climate crisis is right at the top of that list. Full stop. From renewable energy research, the necessary transitions of our power grids and energy industries, to atmospheric models or even models of international power dynamics as complex systems, physicists are involved everywhere.

Beyond basic and applied research, science communication and policy advisory cannot just be side products of our work whenever we have a spare half hour. Instead, they require careful thought, dedication and international collaboration—all of which I am looking forward to reflecting on and discussing in Lindau.

I would highly encourage anyone who wants to do science to apply to the Lindau meetings (or the related Heidelberg Laureate Forum, which I attended in 2018 and 2019). These extraordinary meetings are still not very widely known in my experience. They always prove so inspirational and thought-provoking and provide participants with an incredible network for years to come. For Heidelberg in particular, applications are open to anyone, from November to early February each year.

Berkeley Physics