At the "Capital Science Lectures", an iconic event for the promotion of science among the general public held in the Forbidden City Concert Hall on November 12, 2008, the people of Beijing met Nobel Prize winners for the first time.
Martinus Veltman (3rd right), winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, and Butler W. Lampson (2nd left), who received the Turing Award in 1992, speak to the Beijing public at the Forbidden City Concert Hall on November 12, 2008. [Wang Wei/China.org.cn]
Martinus Veltman, winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, and Butler W. Lampson, who received the Turing Award in 1992, delivered lectures titled My Route to the Nobel Prize
and My Route to the Turing Award
Professor Veltman pointed out four factors on his road to success: family, good teachers, thinking independently, and keeping up with the latest developments. Also, as a teacher, he emphasized that it is important what kind of problems teachers present to their students for investigation. "That's the key issue for the education system."
Professor Butler W. Lampson, on the other hand, attached great importance to another four factors: luck, cooperative work with talented people, choosing an extraordinary leader and setting a goal that is well defined.
This special session attracted a lot of members of the Beijing public, including fans of the "Capital Science Lectures" --students as well as science workers.
The "Capital Science Lectures", sponsored by the Beijing Association for Science and Technology, are held at the Wangfujing Bookstore at 10 AM every Sunday. The host stated: "This is the first time we have invited a Nobel Prize winner. We hope this platform can keep citizens in closer contact with top scientists and promote the popularization of scientific knowledge among the general public."
According to Professor Lampson, such activities also take place in America, with the aim of building a bridge of communication between scientists and citizens. Public lectures as well as TV programs are quite popular there.
As part of the Nobel Laureates Beijing Forum 2008, the idea of inviting scientific experts to have a face-to-face meeting with the public represents a new step forward compared with the past three forums.