The University of Alabama

Two UA Students to Meet 35 Nobel Laureates in Germany

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The first week of July will see 35 Nobel Laureates congregate at Lake Constance in Germany to meet the next generation of leading scientists and researchers, including two University of Alabama chemistry students, at the 63rd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting.

More than 600 young researchers from nearly 80 countries will be part of this special convention.

UA’s two students selected for attendance are Steven Kelley, a native of Olive Branch, Miss., and Michele Stover, a native of Moselle, Miss.

Kelley earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Mississippi State University in 2009. He enrolled in UA’s doctoral chemistry program in the fall of 2009. At UA, Kelley, who earlier earned his own fellowship from the Department of Energy Nuclear Energy University Programs, works with Dr. Robin Rogers, professor and holder of the Robert Ramsay Chair of Chemistry at UA and director of UA’s Center for Green Manufacturing.

Stover earned an Associate of Arts degree from Jones County Junior College in Ellisville, Miss. in 2008. She then earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from William Carey University before enrolling in UA’s doctoral chemistry program in the fall of 2010. At UA, Stover works with Dr. David Dixon, professor and holder of the Robert Ramsay Chair of Chemistry in UA’s College of Arts and Sciences.

“I am impressed and carried away by the competence, curiosity and energy of the young participants – networking, discussing, asking the right questions,”  says the German Chemistry Nobel Laureate Hartmut Michel, speaking about his 16th attendance at a Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. “This makes me think confidently about the perspectives of a global scientific community.”

The concept of Green Chemistry will be among the central topics, but the many lectures and discussions will also focus on the generation, conversion and storage of energy, as well as on biochemical processes and structures.

Beginning with a Sunday, June 30 opening ceremony, which will be attended by many guests from science, politics and business, and ending with the farewell of all participants on Friday, July 5, the meeting week will be filled with sessions and events.

Participants are invited to science breakfasts, each featuring a scientific subject. In the course of the mornings, a total of 30 Nobel Laureates will give their lectures, the topics of which they offer to discuss with the young researchers later in the afternoons in separate sessions.

In three master classes, a few selected participants will have the unique opportunity to present their own research to a laureate.

This year’s meeting will end with a panel discussion on the concept of “Green Chemistry,” which aims to make chemical production as resource-sparing, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly as possible. In this approach, detrimental raw materials and final products are to be avoided, waste will be reduced and the risk of accidents will be minimized.

The panelists will be Nobel Laureate Steven Chu (USA) and Mario Molina (Mexico) as well as the German chemist Michael Braungart.

The physicist Chu served as Secretary of Energy in the first term of President Barack Obama’s administration. The chemist Molina is one of the most prominent precursors to the discovery of the ozone hole, and he was one of the first to elucidate the threat to the Earth’s ozone layer from chlorofluorocarbon gases. Braungart is a developer of the “cradle to cradle” concept for sustainable resource circulation.

The idea of ​​sustainability has characterized and defined the Lindau Meetings since their inception. The impact of the debates on the importance and the responsibility of science and research extends far beyond the group of meeting participants and reaches society as a whole, organizers said.

The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings have evolved into an internationally respected forum for scientific debate on issues of global importance and have gained numerous partners and supporters around the world. The meetings originated from the initiative of the two Lindau physicians Franz Karl Hein and Gustav Wilhelm Parade, and Count Lennart Bernadotte, a member of the Swedish royal family.

The first meeting in 1951 – a medical congress attended by seven Nobel Laureates from Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States and Germany – was an important stimulus for scientists to resume contact with each other after World War II.

UA’s chemistry department is part of the College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the College have won numerous national awards including Rhodes Scholarships, Goldwater Scholarships and memberships on the USA Today Academic All American Team.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.