Graduate student hobnobs with Nobel Laureates
Taken off guard. That’s how USC biomedical graduate student Michael Rouse described his reaction to receiving an Oak Ridge Associated Universities-sponsored invitation to the 61st meeting of Nobel Laureates in Lindau, Germany last month.
“I’d never heard of the meeting before, so first I was asking, 'Is it real or a hoax?'" Rouse said. "And even when I found out it was real, it was one of those things you never really expect to get to do.”
Rouse, advised/mentored by USC School of Medicine professors Prakash and Mitzi Nagarkatti, is focused on immunology and plans to graduate in May 2012. Never having traveled to Germany, he found the “whole experience” exciting -- from meeting with Nobel Laureates and other American and international delegates to seeing Lindau’s sights and attractions.
“Our group stayed at two locally-owned hotels -- mine was the Hotel Möve Garni,” he said. As for German food, breakfast was “fantastic. We were served more than 29 different fruits plus an assortment of cheeses, breads, and nuts.
"But, I’ll be honest. Eating wurst and schnitzel for every meal took a little getting used to. So, every now and then, I would deviate from the local food and go for pizza and gelato. Good weather enabled our roaming the streets to see the sights, including a Picasso exhibit and a visit to the Isle of Mainau where the count and countess live.”
The most exciting aspect of meeting Nobel Laureates?
“Being able to meet so many scientists in a relaxed, casual setting and to discuss our roles and responsibilities as scientists, and addressing issues like global health,” he said.
Next on Rouse’s agenda?
“Winning the Nobel Prize! In all seriousness, my first objective is finishing my education here at USC,” he said, “then finding a job. And, the meeting did allow me to interact with people from all over the world, each doing something vastly different within their respective scientific fields, which creates a host of opportunities, potential collaborations, and job opportunities.
"Moreover, meeting with the laureates provided encouragement to continue to do good science and not get bogged down in the rat race to simply perform.”
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