Graduate student attends meeting of Nobel Laureates in Germany

Published: July 31 2008

Category:Announcements, Seen & Heard, Top Stories

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida student Orlando Rios was one of only 60 graduate research students in the U.S. who attended the 58th Annual Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates and Students. The event was held from June 29 to July 4 in Lindau, Germany, and featured lectures and discussions on physics.

The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting has been recognized globally as an inspirational forum which allows an exchange of ideas between generations of scientists.

Continuing a tradition established in 1951, Nobel Laureates in chemistry, physics, medicine and physiology convene annually in Lindau to conduct open, informal meetings with more than 500 graduate students and junior researchers from around the world.

Rios was nominated by Fereshteh Ebrahimi, Rios’ UF graduate advisor. The council workgroup then made its final selection from a pool of Best Talents, of which Rios was a part. The workgroup examined 1,500 profiles for the meeting, and chose the 500 top applicants to receive an invitation to Lindau. Taking into account the national selection procedures, more than 20,000 young researchers applied to attend the 2008 meeting.

The primary purpose of the meeting was to allow participants to benefit from informal interaction with the Nobel Prize winners. During lunches and dinners, Laureates joined participants at local restaurants for informal discussions. Rios said, “My biggest contribution was in the hours of discussion regarding science and other non-scientific topics with all the young scientists.”

Rios said most of the discussions began formally with one student asking a question and the laureates responding in front of the group. “One realization that stood out was that the laureates were extremely passionate about science. It was almost as if they were still new, young scientists amazed by how much they still didn’t know.”

“In my opinion, although the laureates were the highlight and motivation of the meeting, what affected me the most was experiencing a broader view of the international community we work with,” Rios said.

In addition to the conference, the participants were able to experience the island city of Lindau, Germany, which is located just north of the Swiss Alps.

“I was inspired and felt lucky to be a part of such a great research community,” Rios said.

Rios plans to receive his Ph.D. from UF, and he said he would like to conduct research and teach. “I had some teaching experience with the UF Engineering Freshman Transition Program last summer, and I know teaching is something I really look forward to.”

Contact: Scott Gibson, Oak Ridge Associated Universities/Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, 865-576-5156

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Jackie Horstmann

Category:Announcements, Seen & Heard, Top Stories

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