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Leiden physicists meet Nobel prize winners

Two Leiden physicists took part in the Lindau conference in Germany from 26 June to 1 July. They met Nobel prize winners from their field.

The Lindau conference is an annual event where dozens of Nobel prize winners meet the next generation of leading scientists from all parts of the world. From Leiden, postdoc Johannes Jobst and Adrian Hamers, who recently obtained his PhD, were present.  

Strict selection

Jobst and Hamers were both nominated for the meeting by their professor. A selection committee from the KNAW then scrutinised their CV, publications and letter of motivation, before reaching a decision on who would be invited to the meeting. In total, just five Dutch scientists were invited.

Electron microscopy

Jobst is conducting research in Leiden on low-energy electron microscopy. He describes being invited to the Lindau conference as an enormous honour. 'Normally I go to lectures where new discoveries in my field are discussed. These Nobel prize winners talked about relatively old science, and very diverse subjects. It's really broadened my knowledge. And the lectures were exceptionally good.' 

Atom bomb

Jobst was particularly impressed with the almost 90-year-old Roy Glauber, who won the Nobel prize in 2005. 'He explained his contribution to the  Manhattan project, the development of the first atom bomb, and showed us some of his personal photos on which you could see Robert Oppenheimer, Albert Einstein and other famous people.’


Hamers recently obtained his PhD based on a study of the orbits of celestial bodies. He was most looking forward to the lecture by Gerard ’t Hooft, who won the Nobel prize for physics in 1999. Hamers: ‘He is a particular inspiration for me because he applied so much originality and inventiveness in physics. You always need new ideas in our field. That's the only way to discover what the implications of existing laws  are in the natural world.'

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