Young Estonian materials scientist attended meeting with Nobel Laureates

Marta Tarkanovskaja, doctoral student of materials science at the University of Tartu and University of Turku and the best young Estonian scientist, was one of the 400 young people representing 80 countries who participated in the reputable Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting.

This year’s Lindau Meeting was dedicated to physics. In six days young scientists over the world had the opportunity to participate in inspiring lectures, master classes and meetings in an informal atmosphere with more than 30 Nobel Laureates.

Tarkanovskaja said that the Lindau Meeting was one of the most unusual conferences because there were so many Nobel Laureates—the only place where you can meet even more Nobel Laureates is the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony.

The entire event began a day earlier for the doctoral student because she was invited together with 40 other young scientists to participate at the Summer Festival of Science. “I spoke to Nobel Laureate Bill Phillips for the first time there and he begun the conversation with “We (Nobel Laureates) are here for you, let’s talk!”. Later I realised how lucky I was to have spoken with Bill first because during the Lindau Meeting other young scientists were surrounding him like electrons orbit the atomic nucleus,” described the young materials scientist.

According to Tarkanovskaja many young scientists were interested in how to receive the Nobel Prize. The laurates offered several versions: for example, move to Switzerland and eat chocolate because Switzerland is the leading country for the number of Nobel Laureates and the amount of chocolate eaten per 10 million people.

The second and easier way to get a Nobel Prize is to ask for it from a Nobel Laureate. This is what Tarkanovskaja did—she was able to hold the Nobel Prize medal of Klaus von Kiltzing at the dinner table. “Now I can say I received the Nobel Prize… for two minutes,” laughs the doctoral student. “But seriously speaking, a week with Nobel Laureates showed me that if you are optimistic, do what you love and work with passion, anything is possible,” said Tarkanovskaja.

Next year’s Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting is dedicated to chemistry. “Run, be selected, be inspired and make the world an even better place,” Tarkanovskaja encourages all other young scientists who have not participated in the Lindau Meeting yet.

In her research work Tarkanovskaja studies the fragmentation processes of ionic liquids and molecular clusters by using vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) mass spectroscopy. The substances’ reaction to VUV radiation (ionisation, fragmentation) is an important component in understanding the fundamental characteristics of substances and their potential applications.

The best Estonian young scientists are sent to the Lindau Meeting by the Estonian Academy of Sciences. As of 2006, the Academy has sent 18 young scientists to Lindau. The participation fee is covered by the Council of the Lindau Nobel Laurate Meeting together with the Academy.

Have a look at the first impressions of the participant and the lectures of the Nobel Laureates.


Additional information

Marta Tarkanovsjaka, UT doctoral student of materials science

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