Tiana Tsang Ung
10th Heidelberg Laureate Forum Report
In the last week of September, the 10th Heidelberg Laureate Forum was held. This annual event provides young researchers (undergraduates, PhD students, and postdocs) with the opportunity to enjoy an eventful week in Heidelberg spent interacting with each other, local academics, and laureates of various prizes including the Fields Medal, Turing Award, Abel Prize, and the Nevanlinna Prize (now called the Abacus Medal).
The organisation of the forum was near flawless. Despite the large number of participants, frequent location changes and tightly packed schedule, essentially every single activity started as scheduled, down to the very minute. Our week of events included talks of many kinds, tours of the city and the castle, dinner in a museum, and a boat trip on the nearby Neckar river.
But beyond the amazing scenery, the wide range of research talks and all the food, the main highlight of the event was the people. It seemed like a lot of effort had gone into ensuring that the population of attending young researchers was balanced, but at the same time as diverse as possible. This created a comfortable and welcoming environment (minus all the cameras), which made it especially easy to have sincere conversations about all our different experiences, plans and future ambitions. The laureates too were generally very approachable, and generous in sharing advice and anecdotes. Going in to the forum, there were many career questions that I had hoped to find answers for. Although I didn’t end up with any direct answers, it was incredibly useful to talk to all the people at the forum, and hearing their many different perspectives eventually allowed me to come to my own conclusions.
Attending the forum was an amazingly fun and fulfilling experience that I won’t forget, and I’m extremely grateful for AustMS and AMSI for their travel grant which helped me get there.