Two of our LuxDoc members participated in the Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF) which is Europe’s largest, general science meeting and is held in a leading Europe city every two years. In 2012 the ESOF was hosted in Dublin from July 11th-15th (http://esof2012.org/).
One of the highlights of the conference was the first Keynote talk, given by Jules Hoffmann, who won the Nobel price in 2011. He gave an inspiring talk about his main topic (innate immunity) and the progress of the research in life sciences over the last 50 years. At the end of the talk he drew an optimistic picture for life sciences and really succeeded to get the new generation of researchers excited about the future of life sciences. Jules Hoffmann also mentioned that he was born in Echternach and raised in Luxembourg, thereby putting Luxembourg on the world map of life sciences.
Another highlight of the conference was the so-called “James Watson Master Class”. This was a round table talk, for which people needed to apply separately. I was lucky to be among the 17 chosen scientists to participate in a round table discussion with James Watson, who, as one of the discoverers of the structure of the double helix, is truly a living legend. James Watson gave some advice for young researchers, talked about his life and emphasized the importance to pursue a cure for cancer.
Altogether I can say that this was one of the most interesting conferences that I have attended as a graduate student. I would strongly recommend this type of meeting to all young researchers, regardless of their chosen career path, as it encourages graduate students to think beyond the boundaries of the lab and to put research into the bigger picture including education, communication and the society as a whole.
Elisabeth John and Jianguo Ding for LuxDoc