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Business & Education Technology

Full Steam Ahead!

If we could hand each of our readers an award for hard work and perseverance in 2020, we would. It’s been a difficult year (to say the least), and it feels appropriate that we end it as we always do – by celebrating innovation.

We’ve all had to innovate amidst the pandemic – from changing how we meet with family and friends to finding unique ways of continuing essential work from a safe distance. Not content to chug along, the analytical science engine roars towards better, faster, stronger, smarter, simpler – whatever the weather (no snow or “leaves on the line” here).

Our Innovation Awards (page 14) provide some great examples of this full-steam-ahead approach. As always, nominations were submitted by you, our readers, and ranked by our esteemed (and anonymous) judges. The result: 15 runaway solutions that are set to transform our laboratories – and our ways of working. (Without giving too much away, we explore tales of endurance from one of the winners in another of our December features. Why only tell half the story, right?)

Though some aspects of our world continued apace, let’s not forget the emergency brake applied to the 2020 conference and events calendar – a serious blow for the many close communities within the sphere of analytical science. With some shows canceled and others made totally digital, adaptation (and yet more innovation) has been the name of the game. Yet, questions remain as to whether these virtual meetings – and their counterpart tools for delivering lectures to students – match their physical counterparts (as explored here).

But there does seem to be light at the end of the tunnel! The last few weeks have brought news of promising vaccines – a flicker of hope as we near the end of a particularly gloomy journey. Again, analytical scientists are at the very heart of ensuring the absolute safety of the billions of doses needed for an entire planet (see more).

A change of tracks is certainly on the horizon, but that’s not to say our destination is assured. Many platforms remain unexplored and dark corners stay unilluminated. Continued dedication in the coming months will be crucial in supporting future endeavors – and our much-anticipated arrival into Normality Station.

Right now, that glorious return feels tangibly (or perhaps tormentingly) close. In the meantime, I hope you all have a chance to blow off some steam over the coming holiday season; even those of you on the frontline of science need time in the engine shed.

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About the Author
Matt Hallam

I've always wanted a job that fosters creativity - even when I worked on the assembly line in a fish factory. Outside work, I satisfy this need by writing questionable fiction. The venture into science writing was an unexpected departure from this fiction, but I'm truly grateful for the opportunity to combine my creative side with my scientific mind as Editor of The Analytical Scientist.

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