The Separation of Science
Ahead of ISSS 2017 in Vienna, the city where East meets West, five researchers share stories from behind the Iron Curtain – and consider how life changed when it fell.
Eva Smolkova-Keulemansova |
Today, we often take for granted the free exchange of scientific ideas. With instant online communication through a multitude of channels, scientists are more connected than ever before. What would become of science, if those freedoms were curtailed?
During the Cold War, the Soviet Union-imposed ‘Iron Curtain’ restricted the ability of Eastern Bloc citizens to travel, trade or communicate with the wider world. Many of the participants of the upcoming International Symposium on Separation Sciences (ISSS 2017) in Vienna have ties to Eastern Europe. We asked some of them to share their experiences of analytical research before and after the fall of the Iron Curtain.
The results make for interesting reading. All describe challenges in obtaining supplies, sharing their findings and collaborating with Western institutions. Nevertheless, separation science in Eastern Europe survived, and even thrived, during this period – testament to the resourcefulness of researchers but also confirmation that science will always “find a way.”
Science Finds a Way
Simple instruments and great enthusiasm allowed chromatography to flourish in Czechoslovakia – despite all the challenges.
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