Dr Ute Schönfelder, editor of the research magazine LICHTGEDANKEN

Keep your distance!

Editorial for online issue 08 on the corona pandemic
Dr Ute Schönfelder, editor of the research magazine LICHTGEDANKEN
Image: Anne Günther (University of Jena)

Keep your distance! Wear a mask! Wash your hands! Since the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has been spreading faster and faster all over the world, these rules now accompany us through our everyday life. And as long as the longed-for vaccine is not yet available, it is these simple things that are most effective in fighting the virus.

Keep your distance! We have made this dictate of reason the title of the new issue of LICHTGEDANKEN. In our Focus we will examine how the researchers at our university are facing the coronavirus pandemic with reason, responsibility and creativity. Some of them have already been dealing with coronaviruses for a long time, such as the team of the European Virus Bioinformatics Centre, which is located at the Friedrich Schiller University. Others are putting aside their previous topics and have been devoting their full attention for several weeks now to questions about the nature of the new virus, the mechanisms of the disease it triggers, and the consequences of the pandemic for our society, the economy, and politics. Many of the projects presented in this issue have been developed at an enormous speed. Some results are therefore still preliminary and incomplete; others may need to be revised or reviewed. In this LICHTGEDANKEN, we provide – almost in real time – insight into the ongoing research process.

But it is not only the content that makes this issue of our research magazine special: The digital summer semester 2020 at the Friedrich Schiller University has produced a purely digital magazine. In the past few weeks, we too have been working mainly from home, the established editorial work processes were suspended – the production of a printed edition was not easily possible. But we have used this time to try something new. So, in the current version of LICHTGEDANKEN, you can listen to the first two episodes of our LAUTGEDACHT podcast, watch video interviews and use many suggestions for further online reading. We are eager to find out if you like these formats. As usual, you can email your feedback, suggestions and criticism to presse@uni-jena.de.

We want to continue to develop the new digital formats in the future, even though LICHTGEDANKEN will continue to appear primarily as a printed magazine. It remains to be seen whether this will already be the case again in the coming winter semester. After all, the crisis has not yet been overcome. We are still in the midst of it. Please stay healthy and keep your distance!

Ute Schönfelder

Jena, Germany, August 2020