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"You are the most important people today": Letter to Fellow Scientists from Prof Rana Dajani

April 15, 2020

Dear fellow scientists,

As scientists, we study nature, the world around us.
We are curious.
We ask questions.
We pursue the answers which create more questions.
Our curiosity can never be satisfied.
COVID did two things;
We have been thrust forward to ask the right questions and develop science to find solutions and that's the how. The other part is reflecting on the why.

Science can’t exist without the humanities, they are intertwined. We need both to have a balance. Let us use this time of reflection to think of what is next. Whether we are dealing with COVID-19 directly at the level of basic science, or at the level of prevention and vaccines or at the level of therapy, all levels are related one way or another since all science is connected. In order to do better science to serve its purpose of saving Earth and all on it, we need to fulfill the saying in the broadest terms: “A scientist is seeing what everyone sees but thinking what no one has thought.” Nature hasn’t changed, and it's up to us what to do with it.

You are the most important people today. You are the ones dealing with the everyday challenges of staying at home or taking care of those who are staying at home. Your schedules have all been changed beyond your control. For some this is great gathering together, bonding, remedying and caring. For others, it may be a nightmare. Nevertheless, this is an opportunity to rethink many things: Why are we here? What is our role in life? What are our priorities? What is important? It is also a chance to change.

As a mother, when I want to introduce new habits, I take advantage of a change like moving to a new house or school starting. For us, now is the time to change mindsets and frameworks of thinking which people told us in the past was impossible because of the in-place systems. Well, these excuses don’t hold anymore. The frameshift we need is finally here… seize it.

Chair of the OWSD-Jordan National Chapter
Rana Dajani, Professor of Molecular Biology

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