Beeld: Vijselaar en Sixma

Eye to eye with the unforeseen

‘By chance, we live at the edge of a large empty space at the tip of a cosmic string.’ A cosmologist’s view can put things firmly in perspective. Prompted by the coronavirus crisis, this issue of Onderzoek focusses on the impact of unforeseen events on that “chance” life.

But what is science actually doing? And how do researchers respond if they come eye to eye with the unforeseen? Because surely researchers are more aware than most people of the unpredictability of outcomes? And what does society actually expect from science during such a crisis? Is there still room for a thorough discussion and open debate amidst all the chaos?

The editors consciously chose to look beyond the coronavirus. For example, what have we learnt from the credit crisis? What has permanently changed as a result of the attacks on 9/11? And what have we gained from the North Sea flood of 1953?

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