Centre for Biological Signalling Studies

The message of the lost BIOSS fortune cookie

Michael Reth

Corona makes life and science more difficult, but these complicated times also allow us to do things we always planned to but never found the time for, such as cleaning one’s office. In such an attempt I recently made a discovery in the far corner of the bottom drawer of my desk, namely a lost BIOSS fortune cookie. These cookies contained quotes from famous scientists and go back to the exciting starting phase of BIOSS when they were handed out at our first scientific retreat in 2008. So, when I finally opened it, I was keen to discover what this last, leftover cookie had to tell the BIOSS community today. The message read: “Was man zu verstehen gelernt hat, fürchtet man nicht mehr” or, in English “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood, now it is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less” and is a famous quote of Marie Curie. I was pleased by this discovery as the quote fits well to BIOSS and to the time we are experiencing as scientists . First, the quote is from a female scientist who had to struggle all her life to get accepted and to pursue a scientific career. In this respect BIOSS was a game changer and helped to recruit and support excellent female scientists at the university of Freiburg. Second, I think that this quote is highly appropriate in the time of Covid-19. Indeed, only once we better understand the virus and the reaction of the immune system against it, will we be able to first limit the dissemination of the virus and then end this pandemic. BIOSS scientists have taken up this challenge and there are currently four different Covid-19- related projects pursued in the Signalhaus Freiburg, the home of BIOSS.


The four female professors recruited by BIOSS are: