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Fields & Applications Education, COVID-19

Coming Together (Two Meters Apart)

It’s been a while since we penned a joint editorial, but the COVID-19 pandemic very much highlights the need for combined efforts – something we wanted to replicate in house.

An estimated 20 percent of the world is now living in lockdown. As some countries begin to contemplate a return to something approaching normality, others are becoming new epicenters of the crisis. Uncertainty is one disturbing aspect of the fast-evolving situation; outcomes are difficult – if not impossible – to predict. We are currently viewing the situation from within the engine of the pandemic, unaware of the wider machinery dictating its movement. Cogs are turning – but in which direction? And to what end?

Analytical scientists live by data and its logical extrapolation into information. Right now, the data streams are variable – in quality and quantity. Never before has the word “testing” appeared so much (outside of routine analytical labs). And yet, testing is what is most seriously lacking as we write. Efforts in the USA, for example, have been hindered by faulty reagents, while regimes in other countries are crumpling under high demand. We must bring together our greatest minds to increase the reliability, speed and affordability of such tests. Until we have sufficient (quality) data, information will continue to be in short supply.

As the COVID-19 crisis deepens, we may find ourselves obsessively seeking any research that can shed light on our invisible foe. And there is a surprising amount of emerging literature. The scientific community, quick to grasp the scale of the crisis and already accustomed to collaboration, have dispensed with formalities and rivalries to share work in the public domain as rapidly as possible. To that end, the whole Texere editorial team is collaborating to keep you apprised with The COVID-19 Curator – a quick, weekly round-up of the most exciting and impactful developments (subscribe free: texerenewsletters.com/covid19newsletter).

And yet, as communities join forces, conferences succumb to cancellations across the globe (Riva and HPLC 2020, to name but two), trampling traditional efforts to network and exchange ideas. The Analytical Scientist team is working hard on novel initiatives that can help fill some of the gaps…

COVID-19 represents the greatest threat that mankind has faced for decades, and it will require all of our expertise and ingenuity to tackle it. To those of you working personally on the issue: we thank you dearly. And to all of you: stay safe.

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About the Authors

Matthew Hallam

I've always wanted a career in which I could practice my creativity, even when I worked on the assembly line in a fish factory. At one time, I channeled this need into dance, drawing, poetry and fiction, and I still do most of these things. But, following completion of my MSc(Res) in Translational Oncology and time working in labs and as a Medical Writer for major pharmaceutical companies, I'm happy to find myself in a career that allows me to combine my creative side with my scientific mind as the Editor of The Analytical Scientist.


Charlotte Barker

After studying biology at Imperial College London, I got my start in biomedical publishing as a commissioning editor for healthcare journals, and have spent my career covering everything from early-stage research to clinical medicine. I joined Texere Publishing in 2014, attracted by the creativity, talent and passion of the team. As Editor of The Analytical Scientist, I help scientists share their stories in vibrant and engaging content that reflects their passion and hard work.


Rich Whitworth

Rich Whitworth completed his studies in medical biochemistry at the University of Leicester, UK, in 1998. To cut a long story short, he escaped to Tokyo to spend five years working for the largest English language publisher in Japan. "Carving out a career in the megalopolis that is Tokyo changed my outlook forever. When seeing life through such a kaleidoscopic lens, it's hard not to get truly caught up in the moment." On returning to the UK, after a few false starts with grey, corporate publishers, Rich was snapped up by Texere Publishing, where he spearheaded the editorial development of The Analytical Scientist. "I feel honored to be part of the close-knit team that forged The Analytical Scientist – we've created a very fresh and forward-thinking publication." Rich is now also Content Director of Texere Publishing, the company behind The Analytical Scientist.


Frank van Geel

Frank van Geel is owner of educational website Chromedia and Scientific Director of The Analytical Scientist. He studied analytical chemistry, specialized in mass spectrometry in the Netherlands and did several years of post-doc work in spectroscopy with Jim Winefordner at the University of Florida in the US. Then he became a science teacher and later publisher in chemistry and physics related topics. He developed numerous publications in chemistry and other sciences. He strongly supports the mission: Building online communities is the road to take. We need to strengthen the quality of analytical chemistry and we need to strengthen our community by sharing know-how and by sharing our opinions, visions and our views of the future of analytical science.


Lauren Robertson

By the time I finished my degree in Microbiology I had come to one conclusion – I did not want to work in a lab. Instead, I decided to move to the south of Spain to teach English. After two brilliant years, I realized that I missed science, and what I really enjoyed was communicating scientific ideas – whether that be to four-year-olds or mature professionals. On returning to England I landed a role in science writing and found it combined my passions perfectly. Now at Texere, I get to hone these skills every day by writing about the latest research in an exciting, creative way.

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