A Nobel laureate is someone who has won a Nobel Prize which is an award for scientific advances in either chemistry, physics, physiology and medicine, literature, peace or economics. Anyone who wins a Nobel prize becomes a Nobel Laureate and inherits the prestige that accompanies this award. So why am I telling you about Nobel laureates? Well, its because some amazing news I received from the Lindau council regarding the 70th Lindau Nobel laureate meetings, but before I explain what this meeting is and what it is all about, first let me establish how I came to be receiving this news.
I am currently in Miami, I flew all the way from little ole Adelaide across the world and landed here. I do make that sound like a simple trip but it was anything but… lets just say getting on a plane ready to take off to find the plane is broken and you have to get off the plane, miss your connection and change your entire route is not a simple trip! After feeling like Tom Hanks in the Terminal I did finally touch down in Miami. So what am I doing here? Well, I am supposed to be sailing around Key West, helping out on charters, imparting seagrass knowledge, maybe doing some diving, swimming and learning to sail. – yes I have mentioned before my life is an adventure. However, I am not doing that…. I am sitting in a million-dollar house (no I am not complaining about that, its amazing) writing this blog and working on my thesis. The boat I was supposed to be on got struck by lightning… and I am not joking there. I am going to let that sink in a bit because the chances of that happening are astronomically small and yet it did happen. A few months after that happened and it was repaired, the boat caught fire! Legitimately it caught fire! I mean how does that happen. Even writing this down now I feel like I am writing a fictional novel, but it did happen. So, recovering from that drama another boat was hired out to be sailed down to Key West and upon getting this boat ready to leave, it didn’t start. Now I am not one to believe in signs or the universe telling you something, but I think its pretty darn weird and something fishy is going on. Maybe I am not meant to head down to the Keys?, maybe I am not meant to head there yet?… I hope it’s the later because I am itching to be out on the water.
On the bright side, not having anything else to do but lounge about this big house is quite the treat. I have been working non-stop for months in the lab culminating in the processing of around 200 samples for my PhD thesis which I needed to get done. I have spoken in the previous blog post about what I study but extracting DNA from soils is one thing, then the DNA gets sent off to what is called a sequencing facility so that the DNA can get sequenced. What this means is a machine reads the DNA and tells you what base pairs it is made up of and after 6-8 weeks after sending your DNA off you get back the genetic code that makes up your sample. I can then use this code to derive ecological information about coastal plants in the past. It’s a neat little method that requires a lot of time, energy and concentration. My point in telling you all of that is I worked really hard to send my samples off before leaving on this trip and so I very badly need a holiday! Which is how I am treating this this whole boat delay thing- it’s a bit of a holiday and a chance to relax and take a moment….
Okay, moment is over, I hate sitting still for too long, I am ready for a boat to appear in my life that will get me to the Keys and out into the ocean. I am one for positivity, so the silver lining about being marooned on land is that I get access to the internet, which means I can stay in the loop with what is happening at home. This is when I got the most extraordinary news that I have been waiting on for months but never truly believed I would get. A few months ago now I applied for what is called the Lindau Nobel Laureate meetings. This is probably the fanciest science event for young researchers in the world. It is a meeting held once every year in Lindau Germany, where previous Nobel prize winners gather together with around 600 young researchers from around the globe and talk science. I was fortunate enough the get nominated by the Australian Academy of Science and then accepted by the Lindau council to attend this meeting! I mean wow! this is the opportunity of a lifetime. Especially considering the main disciplines are physics, chemistry and physiology and medicine and while my research does use a lot of chemistry, the distinct lack of mentioning anything environmental made me think I would not be selected at all. Some of the brightest minds in the world will all be gathered in one place… and I get to be there too. I cannot wait to get people talking about our oceans and the issues it faces. I think all scientific research is important and by learning about the different research people are doing we may be able to combine to find new ways to protect our oceans. I am so fortunate to be given this opportunity and I cannot wait to share that journey with you and blog about it, you’ll have to wait a few months though, that whole saga doesn’t kick off until July, so stay tuned…
For now all I can do is look forward to July and getting to find out exactly what a Nobel laureate is, how they got to be a Nobel laureate and maybe even develop partnerships and future collaborations. In the meantime, I will be writing more of my thesis, writing papers and generally enjoying life, including watching all the neat, different birds they have here in Miami. Not to mention the lizards, I saw a Cuban brown Anole the other day. As the name suggests this is an invasive species, actually fun fact! majority of Florida’s wildlife is invasive… but it’s still all beautiful and fascinating to observe.