Head of Department letter March 2022
This Tuesday, we had our usual Department meeting, Mötesplats Rydberg, this time with a research seminar on “Future fuels – combustion research for sustainable transportation”. I many ways, our meeting was as interesting and inspiring as usual, but still very much has changed since the preceding Mötesplats Rydberg. This is what I said in the beginning of the seminar:
“Today is a very special Mötesplats Rydberg. It is the first Mötesplats Rydberg after the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the war in Ukraine is ongoing. A war in the middle of Europe. A war in which we have already heard threats about the use of nuclear weapons.
I might have been very naïve, but I have not been imagining in my worst nightmares that I would have to start a Mötesplats Rydberg with these words.
My thoughts – all our thoughts – go to all those who are affected by the war: The people in Ukraine who are in the middle of a war, their families and their friends all around the world, those who lose their lives or are injured in the war while we speak.
My thoughts – all our thoughts – go to our members of staff and students who are from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus. They are all much more affected than what we are who come from other places around the world. Let us make sure that we all take care of each other!
We’re all here to attend a research seminar. In view of the war in Ukraine, such a research seminar might seem futile. Even worse, with their discoveries, theories and inventions scientists, and among them many times physicists, have made possible the machinery of modern war. Without any doubt, science is ambiguous.
Elna is going to give a talk on “Future fuels – combustion research for sustainable transportation”. A reminder of that we have grand challenges ahead of us. At the same time another danger has been become reality in Ukraine, a danger that we seem to have forgotten about many times, a danger that even might imply the rapid end of mankind.
We shall not forget about this danger in the future. But likewise, we shall not forget about all the other challenges in general, and the challenge of climate change in particular. We need to meet this challenge and we need to do it in a way that is manageable for all people. This is why we are here and this is why we should go on with the research seminar!”
I hope for a soon end of the war, an end of war that respects the will of the Ukrainian people to be an independent country and their right to decide by themselves on their future, an end of war that does not bring death, injury and destruction to any other people. In the meantime, we should do what we can to support Ukraine.
Vassily Kornienko, one of our PhD students, has initiated the collection of things needed by the civilian population in Ukraine right now. You find a list of what is needed together with a place to deposit your donation at the spiral staircase next to the library at the Department of Physics. Please pass by and have a look what you can contribute! We have also put up a page on our intranet with relevant links to charitable organisations and to information from the University.