We marched for science: a work in progress!

Edited by Vinodh Ilangovan and Offspring group

June 02, 2017

March for Science at various cities in Germany. Collage by Matthew Cheng. Zoom Image
March for Science at various cities in Germany. Collage by Matthew Cheng.

As practitioners of science most of us feel that science should always remain nonpartisan and never politicized. Nevertheless, policy makers and statesmen share something in common with scientists: both communities work for the betterment of society. On April 22, 2017, scientists and nonscientists alike marched together in over 500 distinct geographical locations, including 20 German cities, peacefully demonstrating their support for factual information and evidence-based policy making by joining the global March for Science.

The events held across various German cities included lectures, panel discussions and science exhibitions, along with colorful marches of diverse people, strengthening the message that “science is global, science is for everyone”. One might argue if this single event had the potential to change anything better for science. The global scale of participation by not only scientists, but also individuals who care deeply about the distinction between verified facts and personal opinion, stands as proof that science unites more than it divides. The broader aim of such a march was to break down the barrier between scientists and society; to understand the interdependence and recognize our roles in making the world a better place.

Here is a glimpse of what March for Science means to these researchers.

“We haven’t democratised science enough to be appreciated by the major stakeholders- the public. The March for Science was a first step in global public engagement”. - Vinodh Ilangovan, MPI for Biophysical Chemistry, Goettingen

“In Germany, scientific freedom is not threatened but trends all over the world matter to all of us. Therefore, transparent communication of scientific facts is important to nurture further development of independent science and shaping an open-minded global society”. - Maria Eichel, MPI for Experimental Medicine, Goettingen

“Fact-based science has an enormous impact on the lives of many people. Unfortunately, although scientists are working across borders, the impact of science can differ when crossing a border. The March of Science is a good step in creating awareness for science and its impact”. - Saskia Hekker, MPI for Solar system research, Goettingen

“Traditionally, scientists have refrained from politicizing science. However, when it came to the point where the credibility of science was threatened by other public institutions, you can bet that many individuals felt empowered to band together, in essence, demanding truth and less lies. Factual-based discussions are the only way to communicate on a deep, intellectual level”. - Renee Hartig, MPI for Biological Cybernetics

“The march connected researchers with their communities. It pulled science out of an academic setting and put it into a world perspective. Additionally, we as a society used the march to voice our expectation of informed policy making based on scientific evidence. Science does not happen in isolation and neither do the consequences of ignoring it.” - Matthew Cheng, Interfaculty Institute of Biochemistry, University of Tuebingen

“The march of science began as a voice of the scientific community against the disheveled politics, but grew into an empowered symphony celebrating science. It surely made a good attempt in engaging the people-non-scientists-everyone, and propagating a shared understanding and responsibility of science. I hope it also stirred minds beyond the borders of the profession. After all, science is intertwined into all of our daily lives, but to an unattested and inconspicuous manner.”- Mayank Chugh, Center for Plant Molecular Biology, University of Tuebingen

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