Bernal Institute Director, Luuk van der Wielen said “As a research community, the Bernal Institute is used to critically reflect on its research performance and societal impact. In the pandemic period during the first months of 2020 and after securing safety and connectivity of community members, priority was given to get into a new normal research routine including safe physical access. But the initiative of the Bernal Writing Challenge of Young Engineers and Scientists at Bernal (YES Bernal) went beyond this and invited written contributions that reflect on ourselves – how we deal with the new normal, how to deal with everyday’s distractions such as uncontrolled fridge proximity and reflect on how we adjust to ‘a remote life’. 3 of our YES-colleagues excelled out of many submissions in quality of writing and reflection. In addition, an additional prize was awarded to Sinead Connelly for an exceptional synthesis of a serious message packaged in a hilarious writing style which gave a lot of food for thought about Bernal behaviours and processes. All contributions reflected the legacy of JD Bernal, who developed and communicated a profile of a responsible scientist dealing with the (in)sanities of a ‘new normal world. Well done to all !’
The competition was judged by Dr Margaret Lawlor, Executive Director, SSPC and Sarah E. Hayes, Director, PMTC.