Meeting of the minds: Post-doc representing Memorial at Nobel Prize winner meet up

Jun 19th, 2019

By Jeff Green

Dr. Robie Hennigar. Photo by Rich Blenkinsopp.
Meeting of the minds: Post-doc representing Memorial at Nobel Prize winner meet up

A Memorial researcher is headed to Germany this summer to exchange ideas with some of the world’s most accomplished scientists.

Dr. Robie Hennigar, a Banting Post-doctoral Fellow in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Faculty of Science, is attending the 69th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Germany. He will have the rare opportunity to meet top researchers in the field of physics, present his research findings and build his professional network.

“The meeting will consist of various talks by and interactions with 39 Nobel prize winning physicists,” said Dr. Hennigar, a theoretical physicist originally from Chester Grant, N.S., who began at Memorial in September 2018.

“It is an unparalleled opportunity to meet and discuss physics with some of the top minds in the field, not only to hear their advice and views on science in general, but also to ask questions of them and present and receive feedback on individual research.”

Exchanging ideas

Every year, a select number of Nobel Laureates gather in Lindau where they meet with the next generation of researchers, including undergraduate students, PhD candidates and post-doctoral scholars.

The goal is to nurture exchange among the different generations of scientists, who each come from different cultures and disciplines.

Each meeting focuses on one of the Nobel Prize disciplines — physiology and medicine, physics and chemistry — the three natural science Nobel Prize disciplines.

“Very rarely does the opportunity to spend a science-filled week with 39 Nobel prize winners come along!”— Dr. Robie Hennigar

Dr. Hennigar says he’s humbled to be chosen to travel to Germany.

“It will be a great opportunity to travel and meet other young scientists and discuss research ideas. And, of course, very rarely does the opportunity to spend a science-filled week with 39 Nobel prize winners come along! I am sure it will be a very motivating experience.”

Black hole research

Dr. Hennigar joined Memorial after receiving a Banting Post-doctoral Fellowship, a highly competitive honour, valued at $70,000 a year for two years.

As part of his research, he’s studying the thermodynamic properties of black holes. He’s been working on some problems concerning the interplay between quantum information and black holes.

“More recently, I’ve been spending some time thinking about how modified theories of gravity can provide an explanation for the inflationary period of universe, and also thinking about properties of black hole event horizons during a merger of two black holes,” he said.

The 69th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting takes place June 30-July 5. More information is available online.

Jeff Green is a senior communications advisor with the Office of the Vice-President (Research). He can be reached at jeffg@mun.ca.

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