Wednesday, June 19, 2024

C&EN: "The chemist who stayed in Gaza"

Via C&EN, this profile by Laurel Oldach: 

Last month, while most of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip was preparing to flee the southern city of Rafah, Rami Morjan was planning to go there.

The city, which for a time had been a humanitarian safe zone, was refuge for an estimated 1.2 million people. But in late April, the Israeli army announced plans to enter Rafah, a move it said was critical to destroying Hamas. It was a dangerous place for civilians. But Morjan had family there who could not leave: his sister and her family, including a niece and her newborn baby.

Morjan, an organic chemist at the Islamic University of Gaza, is used to facing overwhelming odds. He built a chemistry research program despite lacking tools for chemical analysis and then rebuilt it after his laboratory was bombed a decade ago. In May, even after having endured 7 months of war, he came across in text conversations with C&EN as lighthearted, peppering chats with the “face with tears of joy” emoji.

He aims to rebuild the academic community—especially the chemistry community—in Gaza after the war. But first, he must survive it.

Best wishes to Professor Morjan and his family. Read the whole article here. 

This article is a classic example of the excellent and thorough journalism about chemistry and chemists that I've come to expect in Chemical and Engineering News. 

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