When I was young, I had a lot of heroes. I idolised sports icons, rock stars and famous actors. I wanted to be these people and dreamt of doing the things they did.
Until two years ago, I wouldn't have considered scientists among my heroes. Although, I've always had an appreciation of science and scientists, when I think about it, I rather took them for granted. Not any more.
My sister is a research scientist and has at times been working on Covid. I now realise, it's my sister and all the scientists involved in the battle against Covid who truly are the heroes, the rock stars of this world. If we are still here, safe and able to celebrate the festive period, its largely down to them.
They work crazy hours, often for low wages, having spent years in study and development. Their levels of commitment and dedication to their work is awe inspiring, as is their creativity.
A senior research scientist once said to me that the mark of a great researcher, is their courage and ability to challenge the beauty of proof. Isn’t that poetic and profound? That's what I admire so much, scientists relentless curiosity, their desire to question and change and the constancy of their courage to challenge the beauty of proof.
I’ve thought a great deal about it over the last couple of years and feel that its something we all need to work on. The advent of social media has helped fuel the polarisation of society. We often inhabit echo chambers online and don't question our views or opinions. I think this is a dangerous trait, and we'd be much better off challenging 'the beauty of proof', exploring and being open to opinions other than our own.
So, as they work over this festive period and beyond to find solutions to many of the challenges we face, I ask you all, as you sip a drink by the fire, exchange a gift or two or simply hug those you love, to spare a thought for the true icons of creativity, seeking to make a better world. The restless ones; our scientists and to, as we all have with our heroes, try to be a little bit more like them. Open to pushing your own beliefs, experiences and things you hold to be true.
The future needs us to be less certain and infinitely more curious.