Day 25. Masterlaureate

In September 2012 on September 6, 2012 at 11:00 am

Imagine a room full of anxious young scientists, recruited to be part of a new reality TV show.

Each episode sees them pitted against each other in tasks based on their laboratory and presentation skills. Week 1 involves extracting DNA from a piece of frozen human spleen and amplifying the particular molecules which code for ABO blood type. Week 2 revolves around reading a poorly-written up, illegible series of chemistry experiments and making sense of the data by creating a graph.

Week 3 is a masterclass. After what seems an eternity, the doors at the back of the lab open, and to gasps of ‘no, it couldn’t be?’ and ‘oh my goodness, it’s him!’, in walks Nobel Laureate Professor Brian Schmidt. With rapturous eyes upon him, he delivers a spellbinding presentation describing his life’s work and what makes him tick as a scientist.

I’m being a little silly here of course, but the masterclass-like experience is what a new Fellowship program announced this week is trying to capture. Australia’s top young scientists will have the opportunity to travel to the annual Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, providing them with an invaluable opportunity to meet and converse with the world’s top scientists, the Nobel Laureates.

The Fellowship is a collaboration between the Australian Academy of Science and the Science and Industry Endowment Fund.

“The Lindau gathering provides a unique forum for scientific and cultural exchange between Nobel Prize winners and scientists at the start of their careers, giving young researchers a chance to meet inspirational role models,”

said the Academy’s Secretary for Science Policy, Professor Bob Williamson.

Unlike the actual TV series on which my spoof was based, the fellowship winners won’t be featured in popular magazines or morning chat shows. But they may have an impact on your life, or that of your children or grandchildren.  As applies to most science, however, for now we don’t know how that will unfold. As a society we must invest and wait.


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