From June 29th through July 4th, 25 Nobel laureates and over 550 young scientists from all over the world are gathering in Lindau, Germany, at the 58th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings. This year's meeting is dedicated to physics.
Beatrice Lugger, managing editor of ScienceBlogs.de, is in Lindau and will be sending her impressions of the meeting daily through July 4.
ScienceBlogs.de is also running a German-language blog covering the meetings. We are airing short videos in English, of Nobelists at Lindau on the ScienceBlogs homepage, and archiving them at Page 3.14. Here are the first, second, third , and fourth daily dispatches.
And here's today's:
Nobel Laureates Experiment With Water Droplets on Tablecloth
The three Nobel laureates in physics 2005 have amused themselves brilliantly this noon. The yellow tablecloths are waxed outside so that water droplets stay on their surfaces. The laureates started to investigate these precisely—pushing them back and forth, trying to lift them up and more. And they filmed and photographed their experiments. Research for a new Nobel Prize?
Roy J. Glauber, Theodor W. Haensch, John L. Hall together with Andreas Mershin, MIT (from behind).
I feel myself pushed back to school a long, long time ago. Nicolaas Bloembergen uses an overhead projector for his lecture and speaks of one of the most exciting and highly technical developments of our age: The accurate recording of time with lasers!
Glaser Experiments With Young Researchers
Why do you see a movement in this picture, asks Donald Arthur Glaser (if you can not see, it is unfortunately at the poor quality of my picture, and I apologize for that).
No answer. Then Glaser, the physicist and neurobiologist, shows us what is apparently the same picture but without any movement in it this time. It's our brain that makes us see things, and Glaser knows how to outwit it.
Glaser then showed how alcohol, marijuana, noise and vibrations affect our brain. It is a very exciting research field which looks how deception makes our brain think. This makes me nervous—without vibrations (at least, I think).
The Abduction of Women at Lindau?
Do physicists need to abduct women as the ancient Romans did? No, the lack of women among physicists at Lindau is not so bad. On the contrary, the young female academics are catching up. Nevertheless, women are still underrepresented in science. Physics is probably still dominated by men. However, the discipline seems on the right track: At least 30 percent of the participants at Lindau are women.
Three Young Researchers on Women in Physics
Tanja Westekamp, a PhD student at the Max-Planck-Institute in Dresden, believes that times are changing and women might no longer remain a minority in natural sciences. "The projects for young women are achieving their goals and are correct," says the 29-year-old student.
Also in Canada women are generally underrepresented in the sciences, says Kathryn Ross, who studied physics in Ontario. In physics the ratio of women reaches only one to five percent. But Kathryn seems happy with that. She means the female minority might sometimes be preferred, because of equal treatment and the special interest in promoting young girls in physics.
Andrea Sengebusch, a student from Rostock, believes that women have different requirements from their male colleagues. "Men are looking for the challenge, but some women do not want constant pressure to perform." That's why she herself will not strive for a higher position, but wants to remain in midfield.