The 3rd HLF – Through the Looking Glass

3rd Heidelberg Laureate Forum 3. Heidelberger Laureaten Forum

Farewell Ceremony on the last evening of the 3rd HLF – ©HLFF/C. Flemming

Retrospect of the 3rd Heidelberg Laureate Forum (HLF)


©HLFF/B. Kreutzer

Atmosphere defines interaction, and the 3rd Heidelberg Laureate Forum did not allow that truth to evade it. The cornerstone of the HLF is creating an informal environment for scientific communication to flourish. Lectures from the laureates held in the auditorium carried on into the hallways as the energy from a compilation of such great minds reverberated throughout the building and shadowed the participants for the entire week.

The 3rd HLF surpassed our expectations, a respectable feat due to the resounding success of the previous two Forums. Laureate lectures, postdoc workshops and creating ample time for the participants to acutely interact are woven into the fabric of the HLF, with each year creating individual experiences for those involved. 2015 also included the premier of the ‘Lindau Lecture’ series which consists of an exchange between the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings and the Heidelberg Laureate Forum. Each year, the conferences will host a fellow laureate to give a speech at the respective events. Stefan Hell, 2014 Nobel laureate in chemistry, delivered a fascinating presentation that was appreciated by the participants for it’s divergence from traditional subject matter related to computer science and mathematics. The cooperation is a prime example of the inherit value of heterogeneity in scientific exchange.


Hot Topic panel discussion – ©HLFF/B. Kreutzer

The much anticipated Hot Topic of the 3rd HLF, “Brave New Data World”, focused on some the socio-economic challenges of computational science. A diverse expert panel discussed the present and future of data management in depth, followed by young researcher facilitated workshops and concluding with an open debate. The variety of backgrounds composing the panel enabled the discourse to evolve and deepen with each stage, congealed by a common purpose.

Coupled with the social events that made their debut, the ‘Wine and Dine’ at Speyer Technik Museum and the ‘Grill and Chill’ at Halle 02 in Heidelberg, the participants were treated to a truly memorable Forum. Choosing a fan-favorite would be subjectively difficult, as each event posed its unique strengths. However, the underlying informality of each evening advocated the day’s discussions to follow their natural progression.

There was an undeniable significance underlying the 3rd HLF, as this was the first Forum to take place without the visionary that made it possible. Earlier this year, the world lost a groundbreaker in software development and a paragon human being with the passing of Klaus Tschira. His spirit and imagination brought the Heidelberg Laureate Forum from a promising idea to a virtuous reality in 2013 with the establishment of the Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation (HLFF). Perhaps the mark Klaus Tschira left behind is best summarized by Ahmed Ali-Eldin, computer science PhD student at the 3rd HLF, who wrote in his blog post, “This man is unfortunately not here with us this year, but his legacy is. I would have loved to shake his hand and tell him “Thank you Klaus Tschira, you are an inspiration to me. I hope that one day I can touch people’s lives the way you did”.”

In ode to coming Heidelberg Laureate Forums, the 4th HLF will take place from September 18-23, 2016.

For video coverage of the lectures, please visit:

Photos of the Forum are available here:

Coverage of the Hot Topic will be posted on the HLF YouTube in the beginning of October, 2015.