After January's Women's March on Washington filled cities with posters, pink hats, and both men and women declaring the importance of women's rights, scientists and fans of reason and research are taking a turn. Today, the March for Science is showing that there are plenty of people that are looking for real facts and will not stand for cutting budgets at vital government agencies like the EPA and NASA. Organizers have planned over 500 marches around the world, with the main event happening in Washington, D.C. The March for Science is decidedly nonpartisan, bringing together protestors from both sides of the aisle to rally against unfounded and alternative facts.
"The march is pretty unprecedented in terms of the scale and breadth of the scientific community that's involved and it does recall [...] scientific groups against nuclear war in the Reagan era, that's I think the most recent precedent," Robert Proctor, a professor Stanford University, told The Washington Post. "But this is even broader in the sense that there's a broader perception of a massive attack on sacred notions of truth that are sacred to the scientific community."
Scientists add that this isn't the first time that they've clashed with administrations. The Post adds that Galileo and Darwin went against the status quo during their lifetimes, challenging existing beliefs and facing opposition to their works. This weekend's science march isn't making claims that break with any current mainstream ideas, however, unless you think that climate change is a myth perpetuated by the Chinese. Protestors just want to stress the importance of real research and, by proxy, the importance of keeping science at the forefront of conversation.
However, not all scientists are marching today. Many feel like the rally goes against science's mission of objectivity. Other scientists don't want to get involved in the world of politics, choosing to separate their work from such a contentious arena. "Really, what's happened is scientists are scared to engage with politics," Lucky Tran, a scientist and one of the march's organizers, told NPR. "They're worried about looking biased, they're worried about their funding, but really that's been a terrible strategy. It's meant that bad science policy decisions have been made."
In Washington, D.C., and other cities, special teach-ins will take place after the march. At these special pop-up classes, attendees can learn about the more quirky and fun side of science, like the physics of superheroes or the sustainable food movement. It's one way to engage the public without mentioning things like particle physics and the multiverse. It's also a way to show the current administration that the general public has a thirst for science — and that people from all over the globe are willing to fight for facts.