Heidelberg Laureate Forum: A blend of scientific and social event

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It is no doubt that many students will attend several scientific conferences or events before completing their respective programmes which will enhance networking and enable scientific discussions. However, one event that standout and is extremely unique from any networking events that you might have previously attended is the Heidelberg Laureate Forum (HLF).
The HLF is a networking conference where 200 carefully selected exceptional young researchers in mathematics and computer science spend a week interacting with the laureates of the disciplines: the recipients of the most prestigious awards in mathematics and computer science, the Abel Prize, ACM A.M. Turing Award, ACM Prize in Computing, Fields Medal, IMU Abacus Medal and Nevanlinna Prize.

Young researchers at the dinner with ACM A.M. Turing Award, 2004 - Vinton Gray Cerf.

The Forum is not a classical scientific conference but a networking event meant to motivate and inspire the next generation of scientists. The event combined the blend of scientific and social program elements where the HLF platform is specially designed to initiate exchange among the participants. Laureates give lectures on subjects of their choosing which are primarily directed at the participating young scientists. These lectures then became the starting point of intensive discussions between the laureates and the young researchers during the forum.

Laureate discussion with Vinton Gray Cerf, Leslie Lamport and Joseph Sifakis.

This year, I had the opportunity to attend the 9th HLF in person at the beautiful city of Heidelberg in Germany having previously attended the last two editions (virtual and 8th HLF) held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I must say that the in-person version of the conference provided an exceptional atmosphere far beyond my expectations.

The Heidelberg Laureate Forum Building.

The event commenced on 18th September and ended on 23rd September. However, participants were required to arrive on 17th September for registration while participants depart the city to their respective home country on 24th September. The opening ceremony took place on Sunday, September 18 2022 where the Scientific Chairperson of the Heidelberg Laureate Foundation – Anna Wienhard gave the welcoming speech. She mentioned that one of the sessions she was looking forward to is the poster flash and poster session.  I was one of the pre-selected 30 young researchers to present their research during the poster flash to the media, invited guests, laureates and young researchers. On day two, I presented a poster flash which is a 2 minute summary of my research which was followed by the poster session. A video of the poster flash can be found here. After this, we had a Heidelberg city tour and then a welcoming dinner. The full program can be found here.

Tosin Babasola talking about his research.
Group photo of the 30 selected young researchers.

Even though there are series of scientific talks, the event never ceases to showcase the fun and social part. Some of the places the participants visited as part of the organised events were the Speyer museum of technology, local schools and institutions, Heidelberg castle, a boat trip and a party on the Neckar river. Also, a night was dedicated to the Bavarian evening where young researchers wore their native attires to celebrate different cultures with a lot of entertainment. This further shows that even with all seriousness in mathematics and computer science, there are opportunities to loosen up and have a social life while also embarking on outstanding research.

Tosin Babasola at the Heidelberg castle with the tour guides.

There are more to say about this event than I can possibly write but I believe the best way to fully understand the full package of the event is to participate in it. Therefore, I will encourage you to apply for the 10th HLF and hopefully, you will be one of the chosen ones to enjoy the unique event.

In conclusion, I would like to thank the Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation for carefully selecting most deserving students from all over the world and for further promoting mathematics and computer science. In addition, my gratitude goes to the SAMBa team for always supporting the students and ensuring all students have the required resources to embark on exciting research.

Tosin Babasola in his SAMBa jumper.


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