Chemists are helping to keep the lights on – literally. There are plenty of scientists whose jobs keep energy and electricity flowing to our houses, allowing those of us at home to communicate with distant colleagues and loved ones, educate our children with online learning support, and of course find light relief. Netflix is powered by chemistry.
They’re also keeping water flowing in and out of our homes and hospitals. Science technicians are carefully monitoring and managing a clean and abundant water supply that supports everything: research, healthcare, and daily life. Imagine the prospect – as many millions face in India and other countries – of managing a pandemic when washing your hands is a luxury?
Of course, research and development has a critical role to play too – chemistry-based research institutions and companies of all sizes are refocusing their efforts towards discovering more about the virus, developing improved testing technologies, and eventually creating a vaccine. Many offer services or devices that already use cutting-edge chemical science to measure smaller samples, or achieve higher throughput. Chemistry is essential at every step of our response to the virus.
Beyond research, technicians are providing the specialist skills needed to run tests, maintain equipment and manage laboratory supplies - including the donations of chemicals for hand san and safety equipment that are going straight to doctors and nurses on the front lines.
There are also many thousands of teachers still working hard to give their students an inspiring chemistry education, whether it’s in classrooms or remotely. Using the latest technology and some innovative thinking they’re ensuring that, despite a massively disrupted school routine, there will still be students going on to study and work in chemistry in the years to come.
Over the next few weeks we’re going to be recognising the chemical science community’s role in our global response to Covid-19 - from the science of healthcare for those with the virus, to the many people whose work keeps us warm, clean and informed as we stay physically distanced. We’ll be sharing your stories, and we want you to share more with us - either by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or using the hashtag #ChemVSCovid on social media.
Together, the whole chemical science community is contributing to the fight against Covid-19. However you’re helping: thank you.