Lindau 2019: Tips in your profession in science from Nobel laureates

The cobbled streets of Lindau are that bit quieter now that the 69th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting has finished. The meeting wrapped up in style on Friday with a cruise to the flower-covered island of Mainau. Returning to Lindau, partying ensued onboard with a stay band. At the penultimate prevent, the flamboyant Hotel Bad Schachen, laureates had been given an affectionate farewell. As they walked up the wooden jetty to their accommodation, younger scientists cheered and banged at the steel hull of the boat.

Earlier on Mainau, attendees had made their manner to a large marquee on top of the island for a transferring Q&A with Yemeni Nobel peace laureate Tawakkol Karman and a idea-provoking panel, How Can Science Change the World for the Better?

On the walk, I chatted to Maria Żurek, a postdoc on the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, about a panel she took component in two days in advance, “Student, Postdoc, and Then? – Aiming for a Career in Science”. You can watch the complete discussion here.
One key trouble raised through a younger scientist inside the target market changed into that of leaving academia and the way that is perceived. Responding, fellow panellist Niamh Kavanagh of University College Cork talked of her non-public experience. Kavanagh is near submitting her PhD thesis in photonics, however the hard reality that simplest a minority of PhD college students will secure permanent positions in academia induced Kavanagh to think cautiously approximately her alternatives.

Her very last decision changed into to awareness on possibilities some other place, she informed the target market. “I want to present myself the maximum alternatives and set myself up for achievement in anything meaning for me.” However, her choice hasn’t usually been met positively. “I’ve had responses like ‘Oh, that’s a pity’. So that’s quite difficult to cope with.”

Laureate Donna Strickland, additionally on degree, changed into supportive of non-academic paths. “We want scientists in many one-of-a-kind jobs,” she stated, citing how politics can gain from clinical minds, and how R&D may be just as worthwhile in industry – or even beforehand of educational research in some fields.

Wolfgang Ketterle, another laureate panellist, become additionally encouraging. He counseled that younger researchers ought to invite alumni running outside academia again to their labs as visitor speakers, some thing that already happens at MIT. “[They] inform our current grad college students and postdocs what they’ve performed, how they transitioned and the way they sense now after multiple years,” he stated. “I felt that this has been a really valuable advice.”

Żurek turned into happy to look the matter addressed. “Nobel laureates who have affect … they are announcing, ‘Yes, those career paths also are valid’,” she instructed me. “I suppose this is the handiest way to change the attitude of our network.”

Plenty more except was blanketed through the panel. Discussion onstage and thru Twitter on work-life balance, particularly for those with families, showed how this stays a problematic difficulty for young scientists – and one which has no clean answers.

Other topics protected recommendations on how to change fields at postdoc stage, who to turn to in difficult conditions, the way to take care of failure, and the advantages of networking. All in all, masses of food for notion for younger scientists as they make their manner domestic to all corners of the globe. Alles Gute und gute Reise!

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