Dear members of the SCS,
It is a great honor for me to be able to wish all of you a very happy and fruitful year 2022. Once again, it will be a year full of challenges, but also full of hopes. After nearly two years of pandemic, let’s use what we have learned from it to be stronger, more efficient and, above all, happier.
First, for both industry and academia, it has been amazing to see how fast we all could adapt our way of working to resume our professional activities past the first shock. There are times where too much retrograde or forward thinking is not the best way to go, as it may lead to either nostalgia or exaggerate optimism (or pessimism!). Focusing on immediate actions to allow the proper functioning of our institution, company and even civilization was necessary, and we all succeeded in doing that at our own individual and humble scale.
Second, it has also been amazing how fast science could provide valuable data to properly respond to the situation, ranging from developing vaccines and treatments to modeling aerosol dispersion and filtering capacity of materials, without forgetting high-throughput testing and multiple other, less visible but nevertheless important, aspects.
Third, sorting facts from myths, identifying syllogisms and sophisms and admitting that acquiring knowledge doesn’t necessarily take the straightest path are our collective responsibility, as scientists. We may have underestimated how important it is to communicate to people from other horizons what we do, and it is precisely in turbulent times that rigorous thinking is of the highest importance.
Finally, we may have taken for granted that interaction with friends, colleagues or random individuals is easy and can be replaced by chat messages and video meetings. After multiple events that had to go online, the Swiss Science Night was definitely a huge success, and the pure joy of seeing each other in person was a live proof of the necessity of direct human contacts.
I am deeply grateful to my predecessors, who years after years built the SCS into what it is now: a vibrant society, able to cross through the last two years with a remarkable resilience and playing its role as the hub linking chemists of Switzerland. In fact, despite all the difficulties, it was able not only to run, but also to expand its activities in numerous directions while maintaining healthy finances. I already look forward to report on our new activities at the next General Assembly (save the date: April 22nd, 2022 !), and in the meantime I wish you all the best and I hope to have the pleasure of meeting many of you at all possible occasions.
Christian Bochet, SCS
Fribourg, January 14, 2022