Saulius Vaitiekūnas (Lithuania)

One of the most curious and indispensable metals always present in the background of our lifetime is iron (Fe). Not only because it is the most common and widely used metal on Earth: we are connected to Fe by much closer – “personal” – ties. As we know, iron is involved in the production of haemoglobin, which supplies every cell in our body with oxygen. When it is insufficient, we get anaemia, which manifests in general weakness, apathy, depression, loss of quality of life – and even of life itself. According to WHO, 3 580 000 000 people in the world are deficient in Fe. Not much better to have too much iron (see Hemochromatosis). Industrial cataclysms, economic crises, national and religious conflicts and wars are proof that similar ailments and for similar reasons (lack or excess of Fe) affect not only individuals but also larger communities, nations, and states. The body and the world are a place to remind us of this.