Rather than make up numbers about the number of people present at the March for Science, the scientist/organizers wanted to “Science the shit out of them”.
Volunteer Kate Gage: “We really wanted to emphasize that it was a march about science and data and evidence”.
Read about the numbers of marchers and their methods here. Also, WELL DONE MARCH!
As I’m sure everyone has heard by now, the NSF is cutting the Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (also known as the DDIG). This is a huge loss for scientific research in the United States.
Dollar per person, of all the NSF grants the DDIG was the biggest bang for the buck. It helped launch innumerable careers, and started many a scientist on the path to full adulthood.
The internet and twittersphere are full of stories about how DDIGs helped careers, but I want to highlight one from Jeremy Yoder. As usual, it’s well written and gets to the heart of the concept.
Also, call your members of congress to object to the continued reduction in funding for scientific research.
GOOD NEWS, THE GOVERNMENT IS GONNA KEEP RUNNING TILL AT LEAST SEPTEMBER!
Better news, the budget that was passed to keep the government running includes a bump in funding for NIH, and no reduction in NSF funding. Now, it’s not all good news, there’s a serious cut to EPA funding, but let’s take the wins we can get!
And keep fighting. This budget is only through September.
I am not sure how to measure the success of protests, but the March for Science was unquestionably heard around the world. People Marched in 600 locations around the globe to stand up for scientific research in the face of the US President being an unabashedly against science funding/communication/reality. So to celebrate scientist and science enthusiasts standing together, I have collected a few of my favorite videos. Or read more about the march here.
March of the Penguins for Science at the Monterey Bay Aquarium:
The Underwater March for Science at Wake Island:
And a video summarizing some great signs from the March for Science on Washington DC.
And just remember, this is only the first 100 days. Curbing the potential damage this administration can have on the planet will require staying vigilant for the next 4 years. As Aminatou Sow said during the women’s march “I can do this every week”. Bring it.
The journal, Nature, has come out in support of the march for science.
While the journal recognizes there are some strong arguments against marching, being a scientist who stand up and speak up globally for research have a chance to make a greater one.
Read about it here.
And read about the march/consider marching/support your local march/donate/call your representatives for SCIENCE.
Although the proposed budget cuts are still just that (“proposed”), the amount of cuts they are suggesting to scientific research is no joke. In an excellent post over at “Butterflies and Wheels”, it’s explained exactly why this will be a disaster not just for academia, but for industry in the United States.
“Some people may think that what I and my fellow scientists do is so removed from their everyday life that making our lives harder won’t affect them. I guarantee that it will. It might not be obvious, at least at first. But as the US falls behind in scientific research in all disciplines, a new powerhouse will emerge. And businesses who rely on that basic research for their applied research, may decide it’s easier to just move to whichever country comes out on top.”
Read it here!
What is the role of government? Above all, I think this question has been driving the political divide that has occurred since the election last November. It affects whether you think everyone should have healthcare, whether jobs should be brought back, and importantly for us, whether science should be funded.
It’s well-known within scientific communities that governments (This is universally true) are the major source of funding for all academic scientific research. And basic research is important because it expands our knowledge. Science builds on previous science, so there is no way to tell what the work we are doing now will lead to in the future. It doesn’t have to be applicable, it might become applicable in the future, or lay the foundation for applicable research. And because of this lack of immediate profitability, basic science is often not funded by for-profit companies.
So, is it the role of the government to fund science? I think so, because of the argument laid out above. But the Trump administration apparently does not share my sentiments, as their budget drastically cuts science research across all fields of research. Read about it here, or feel free to weigh in on my argument above.
Also, please note, this is why the march for science is so important. It’s not just our livelihoods that are on the line. It’s our future and the future of the next generation.