Nobel Prize Could Make Scientists Superstars, Says Expert | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 11.10.2007
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Nobel Prize Could Make Scientists Superstars, Says Expert

It's hard work to become a scientist, said Manfred Lindinger from the German daily FAZ. It didn't surprise him a bit that two Germans won the Nobel Prize this year.

A test tube

Can science be sexy?

Did the fact that Germans got these two Nobel Prizes come as a surprise?

It was a surprise that two Germans got the prizes at the same time -- but it wasn't a surprise that Gerhard Ertl and Peter Grünberg received the prizes. They were on the list and people knew that they would get it at some point.

Would you say that Germany has recovered from the drain during the 1930s and 40s when many went to the US?

There was a big hole after the Second World War and it took a long time for Germany to reach the same level of science, especially in physics. But things changed in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. There was good science. Still, the competition in Great Britain and America was very tough, so there weren't many German Nobel Prize laureates in this time.

The discoveries that were honored this year with the Nobel Prize were made in the late 80s and even in the 60s and 70s, in Ertl's case. This shows that science was strong in Germany at that time. And the whole world benefits from this research.

Do you think these prizes will help promote the sciences in Germany?

Things may change. Science in Germany doesn't just take place in Germany. Researchers collaborate in the US, in the UK and all over the world. There's a big network of scientists. Even when the Nobel Prize is given to an American, there may have been Germans involved in the research.

It takes hard work to become a really important scientist. In the fields of politics and economics, people expect results quickly, but this isn't true of science. The Nobel Prize makes it evident that it takes a long time.

I think there's a big chance now that we'll make a switch from the media superstars to the real superstars, who are in science.

Manfred Lindinger is a science author for the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

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