Let’s break down barriers – #lnlm14
It was the historical Higgs-Day two years ago. Wednesday, July 4, 2012. The whole world waited for the press conference at CERN. Will the data the Large Hadron Collider had sampled and thousands of scientists had interpreted be valuable enough for a confirmation of the Higgs Boson? Two years ago it was the physics meeting in Lindau and naturally the Laureates showed extremely high interest. During the CERN presentation Brian Schmidt, Nobel laureate in physics 2011, took a picture of his noble colleague David Gross and the secretary of the Nobel Committee in Physics, Lars Bergström. And Schmidt tweeted this picture.
Social networks are not only used by digital natives, there are also other smart people. Some Nobel laureates are used to network, blog and are active in several social media. On Twitter so far I found eight active Nobel laureates. 1
Peter Doherty – @ProfPCDoherty – Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1996
Dario Fo – @Dario_Fo – Nobel Prize in Literature 1997
Leymah Gbowee – @LeymahRGbowee – Nobel Peace Prize 2011
Seamus Heaney – @HeaneyDaily – Nobel Prize in Literature 1995
Louis Ignarro – @DrIgnarro – Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1998
Tawakkol Karman – @TawakkolKarman – Nobel Peace Prize 2011
Sir Harold Kroto – @HarryKroto – Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1996
Paul Krugman – @NYTimeskrugman – Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences 2008
Barry Marshall – @barjammar – Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2005
Brian Schmidt – @cosmicpinot – Nobel Prize in Physics 2011
Joseph E. Stiglitz – @JosephEStiglitz – Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences 2001
Ahmed Zewail – @_zewail_ – Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1999
Women, especially the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, even use Twitter and Blogging for a special initiative:
Nobel Womens Initiative– @NobelWomen – this initiative uses the prestige of courageous women peace laureates to magnify the power and visibility of women working in countries around the world for peace, justice and equality. Karman and Gbowee engage themselves in this initiative together with five more Laureates.
Two of the twitter-active Laureates listed above will attend the 64. Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau: Brian Schmidt, whom we already came to know, and Barry Marshall. First it looked like three of them will be in Lindau, but Peter Doherty had to withdraw his consent. All three are Australians, which makes an impressive rate: 3 out of 7 tweeting Nobel Laureates in natural sciences. Coincidence? I asked them, what they believe might be the reason:
- Barry Marshall‘s guess: “Australians are always very quick to embrace new technology. Twitter and smartphone penetration is probably very high here.”
- Peter Doherty‘s assumption: “Twitter is one way of making a broader comment. Also, Australian medical scientists used social media very effectively several years back to mobilize street protests and block cuts to research funding.”
- Brian Schmidt‘s thoughts and usage: “Australians tend to be willing to give most things a go, as we say.” For him twitter is an interesting way to get information and share information. In this sense certainly the microblogging newsmachine also is a valuable tool to broadly distribute interesting science results. Beyond sciences Schmidt uses Twitter “as a tool to try to gather support for things that I think have quite universal appeal … and as a way of connecting my winery to the broader public”. He uses it to find out what other people think is important and interesting. Finally Schmidt states:
“It is a great communication device – it breaks down barriers of distance and of hierarchy.”
This is exactly what the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings are about. Via our account @lindaunobel we will keep you updated on the ongoing discussions. Tweet with us. Let’s break down barriers. The hashtag ist #lnlm14.
1Please tell me of any further twitter account by a Nobel Laureate. Thanks!