No doubt Christmas time is on the verge again, and with it come this very weird species of christmas angels. They are populating the highstreets, department stores and all the media, and depending on where in the world one goes, they are called either kid Jesus Christ (Christkindl), Snowflake (Snegotchka) or End-of-Years-Winged-Puppet (Jahresabschluss-Fluegelpuppe). But recently I received a personal message from somebody who most likely is up in heaven now. It was a request through one of the professional social media networks called ResearchGate, and it came from a person I knew very well. In this message I was asked by Beatrix N., a former colleague from a colaborating institute, to write an endorsement for her skills in Genetics of complex diseases, transgenic mice and gene mapping. The problem was, that Beatrix died half a year ago in a dreadful accident, when a truck hit her on her bike. She died in her mid 30s, and the institute for experiemental genetics lost one of their very social and scientifically commited researchers. I am happy that she was a co-author and a driving force of my first paper on Parkinson-Disease in a mutant mouse model.
But when I received the ReserachGate request today, I thought how weired it is that people after death remain a member of the scientific community. It would be nice to imagine that they carry on to contribute to science from heaven. Of course I am convinced that Beatrix made it up their, I think she would enjoy to argue with St Peter, since she was always very good in arguing. And if my "letter of endorsement" for her scientific skills helps her to open the gates of the paradise, I would be so happy. In particular I like the idea that with her eminent critical view onto our rotten society she might also drive the wardens of heaven a bit crazy.
Best greetings up there, Beatrix, and the next paper on mouse neurodegeneration we will dedicate to you personally.