“The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting was the most inspiring conference I have ever attended. My advice for other researchers who are eligible would be to apply for a chance to participate in it.” Dr Nora Tischler


CQC²T Research Fellow Dr Nora Tischler from Griffith University, who specialises in optical quantum information science, was among the 10 young physicists selected by the Australian Academy of Science to attend the prestigious 69th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting held in July this year.

The 2019 Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting was dedicated to Physics, with 39 Nobel Laureates and 580 young researchers from 89 countries getting together for a week in the German city of Lindau. In a mix of lectures, panel discussions, Q&A  sessions, and informal meetings, the Laureates shared their personal experiences with the young researchers, and the prize-winning research of the Laureates, current research topics, and the role of science for society and the planet were discussed. After the Meeting, the Australian delegation continued on a German tour to learn about the German research landscape.

Dr Tischler shares her highlights from the 69th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting and advice for fellow researchers.

Q: So how do you get selected to attend this prestigious meeting?

As a candidate from Australia, I had to pass a two-stage selection process. In the first stage, the Australian Academy of Science selects 10 people as the Australian nominees, who are then put forward to the Lindau Nobel Meeting selection committee. In the second stage, this selection committee chooses about 600 people from all over the world. Both of these selection steps are based on written applications.

Q: What was the highlight of the Meeting for you?

One of the highlights was the last day of the Meeting, which consisted of the traditional excursion from Lindau to Mainau Island. After travelling to Mainau all together by boat, we got to explore the beautiful gardens of the island, and there, the last sessions of the Meeting took place. These were a talk by Tawakkol Karman, the 2011 peace prize winner, and a panel discussion including Steven Chu, Brian Schmidt, Vinton Cerf, and others, on the topic “How Can Science Change the World for the Better?” The boat ride back to Lindau turned into quite a celebration.

Q: Who was the most interesting person you met?

There were many really interesting people at the Meeting (among the Laureates as well as among the young scientists), so it is difficult to single someone out. But if I had to pick one person who impressed me the most, it would probably be Brian Schmidt, who won the Nobel prize for the astonishing discovery that the expansion of the universe is accelerating. He is a person who not only possesses values, but stands up for them and lives them authentically. It is wonderful to see that he is using his well-deserved prestige to make the world a better and fairer place.

Meeting Brian Schmidt in person was also a real pleasure as he is personable and has a good sense of humour. It did leave me wondering … besides the countless obligations as a Nobel Laureate and shouldering the massive job of being vice-chancellor of ANU, how does he find time for other activities like making wine?

Q: What was the one thing that you took away from the meeting that will help you in your research career?

The importance of choosing the sort of research that gets you really curious and in which you enjoy the day-to-day activities was stressed by the Laureates. This way, the required focus and dedication come easily and even worst case, if you fail, it won’t feel like it was a waste of time.

Dr Nora Tischler is a Research Fellow for the Centre for Quantum Computing and Communication Technology based at Griffith University. Her work focuses on quantum communication and quantum information processing with photons (discrete-variable quantum optics).