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It is easier to split an atom than to stamp out prejudice” – this quote by Albert Einstein offers an inkling of the extraordinary breadth of topics that you will encounter in the latest edition of our research journal, entitled UNITE & DIVIDE. From the natural sciences and medicine to the humanities and the social sciences, the theme of UNITE & DIVIDE is a focus of research at Heidelberg University. There is widespread concern that the COVID-19 pandemic might have caused a permanent division of our society – with direct implications for science, from an exaggerated belief in the power of science, on the one hand, to the complete denial of scientific findings by another part of the population. How do we handle it when people will only accept facts that confirm their own beliefs, and the willingness to engage in real dialogue seems to wither away? What are the consequences for our social life and for our mental health, when any form of physical proximity is suddenly associated with danger? What happens to a community when some of its members no longer feel bound by rules?

Besides exploring these questions, the 18th edition of our RUPERTO CAROLA re-search journal reports on new findings in the life sciences, in physics and chemistry, and offers insights into topics such as antigypsyism research, corporate law, medical ethics and Middle East research. An interest in science and scholarship, and pleasure in gaining new knowledge – these are traits that the readers of our journal share with the researchers at Heidelberg University. With this in mind, let me wish all of us a stimulating and rewarding reading experience!

Prof. Dr Dr h.c. Bernhard Eitel
Rector of Heidelberg University

Issue 18 · July 2021