For the past week, 28 Nobel Laureates and 420 international young scientists have dedicated themselves to central topics in chemistry, and have discussed the role of science in a 'post-truth age'. At the invitation of the state of Baden-Württemberg, the participants were, as in previous years, taken by ship from Lindau to the close of the Meeting on Mainau Island. There, the German top manager Klaus Kleinfeld was appointed an Honorary Senator of the Foundation.
"During this week, we could experience up-close how thrilling it is when scientists from the whole world stand up for the central importance of facts. A signal of strength and unity has been sent out from Lindau", said Countess Bettina Bernadotte. Young scientist Hlamulo Makelane from South Africa summarised her experiences in Lindau: "I found it truly inspiring to meet the Nobel Laureates. They are so down-to-earth and normal that it gives me hope that I can achieve as much as they have." During the final session, she addressed the meeting participants with some closing remarks representing the young scientists.
The participants in the discussion on 'Ethics in Science' included Nobel Laureate Martin Chalfie, chemistry professor Jeffrey D. Kovac (University of Tennessee), young scientists Michael Lerch (University of Groningen) and Karen Stroobants (University of Cambridge) as well as Ahmet Üzümcü, Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague (OPCW). Üzümcü accepted the Nobel Peace Prize 2013 on behalf of the OPCW. The discussants consulted on what factors promote unethical conduct, the consequences that this has for the relationship between science and society and how chemists can conduct themselves in an ethical manner.
In announcing the appointment of Klaus Kleinfeld as Honorary Senator of the Foundation, Jürgen Kluge, Chairman of the Board of Directors, paid tribute to the outstanding qualities of the former CEO of Siemens and Alcoa. "An integral part of his leadership is the conviction, that leaders need to be personally independent but at the same time team players." Kluge also thanked Kleinfeld on behalf of the Board of Directors for his longstanding accompaniment and support of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings.
The participants, who took part in the programme at the invitation of the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts of Baden-Württemberg, used the boat trip on the 'Sonnenkönigin' motor vessel as well as the subsequent picnic on the meadows in front of Mainau's baroque castle for informal exchange. Minister Theresia Bauer was represented by Assistant Secretary Ulrich Steinbach, who said the following with regard to the closing programme: "Ethics are central to science and research – especially in a time in which scientific findings are being declared as 'untrue'."
The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings have been hosted on the banks of Lake Constance every year since 1951. The meeting traditionally ends with an excursion to Mainau Island, the seat of the Bernadotte af Wisborg family. Count Lennart Bernadotte af Wisborg was a co-founder of the meetings and long-time president of the Council.
Gero von der Stein
Story Source: Materials provided by Scienmag