African Physics Newsletter

Senegalese doctoral students took part in the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

Every year, young scientists from all over the world meet Nobel laureates at the Lindau Nobel Laureat Meeting. In 2019, three Senegalese physicists were among them.

Philippe Bernard Himbane from University Assane Seck of Ziguinchor, Mané Seck from the University Gaston Berger of Saint-Louis, and Marie Pascaline Sarr from the University Alioune Diop of Bambey are the three PhD students in physics selected for their performance by the National Academy of Sciences and Techniques of Senegal in partnership with the Lindau Nobel Meeting committee to represent Senegal in this unique scientific event in Germany.

A 2019 meeting dedicated to physics

The 69th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting (LINO19), dedicated to physics, took place from 30th June – 5th July 2019. Thirty-nine Nobel Laureates participated in the meeting –including the 2018 laureates in physics Donna Strickland and Gérard Mourou. They met 580 international young scientists from 89 countries (from the five continents) and other important invited guests, including academics and media partners. The key topics of LINO19 were laser physics, gravitational waves, dark matter and cosmology.

Indeed, several Lindau Alumni, as well as partners of the Lindau Meetings, were asked about their thoughts on the current status of scientific excellence in Africa, what progress has been made, and what still needs to change. While the situation varies greatly among African countries, the last decade has seen a considerable growth of scientific agencies, programs, networks and conferences, and certainly an improvement of the situation.

Share good ideas and concepts

The objectives of the Lindau meeting are to share good ideas and concepts, and to foster new scientific discoveries, but also to connect people to multiply knowledge around the world. It is a meeting that is both educational and inspiring for any young scientist.

The highlights for the Senegalese young scientists were the laureates conferences and panels, especially Donna Strickland on "From Nonlinear Optics to High Intensity Laser Physics", Gérard Mourou on "Passion for extreme light", Sir Konstantin S. Novoselov on "Materials of the future", and Ada E. Yonath on "The ribosome –a connection between the prebiotic origin of life and next generation antibiotics". Takaaki Kajita shared his excitement for physics: “If you like physics and you're lucky, nature can reveal its secrets."

Direct discussion with Nobel laureates

A panel organized by the Republic of South Africa at the Bayerischer Hotel entitled "Global science, especially astronomical science in Africa" interacted under the chairmanship of Nobel Laureate Brian P. Schmidt. The young scientists also participated in a "Master Class" directed by Nobel Laureate Albert Fert, where three young researchers presented their research work on the topology of materials, such as Skyrmions. They had the opportunity to discuss and exchange ideas, with ten other young scientists, during a lunch with Albert Fert.

The young scientists participated in several other conferences, panels and discussions with Nobel laureates during this meeting. According to Philippe Bernard Himbane, "Our participation at the 69th meeting of the Nobel laureates dedicated to physics allowed us to get in touch with the Nobel laureates and to meet several young scientists from all over the world —a great opportunity to meet and exchange with the Nobel laureates, a moment of fruitful, enriching and educational exchanges."

Lat Grand Ndiaye & Philippe Bernard Himbane, University Assane Seck of Ziguinchor, Senegal

This article has first been published in the African Physics Newsletter.

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