By Matin Durrani in Boston, US
Hundreds of scientists and science supporters gathered in Copley Square in Boston earlier today in a rally to underline the importance of science. The “Stand up for Science” event was organized to coincide with the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which is taking place a few blocks away.
To find out more about the aims and purpose of the rally, I hooked up with Geoffrey Supran (picutred below), who helped to organize the event. Having originally studied physics at the University of Cambridgein the UK, Supran obtained a PhD in materials science at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology and is now doing a postdoc in the history of science with Naomi Oreskes at nearby Harvard University.
“I’ve always believed in the power of science to make the world a better place,” Supran explained. “But right now what we face is an an anti-science administration that’s endangering the people and places we love through climate denial and attacks on truth and reality. So we’re trying to send a message to Trump, which is that America runs on science. It’s the backbone of progress for humanity. It protects us and keeps us safe and it makes our lives better. So we’re just standing up for truth.”
But are rallies like this – other science marches are planned for 22 April with a separate climate march set for 29 April – in danger of making science seem like just another protest group? In other words, could their aims backfire?
Supran naturally doesn’t think so. “Scientists are among the most trusted people in America,” he told me. “History shows that when scientists speak up and engage with the public, they make progress because the public inherently trusts them and sees them as truth tellers. So when they speak up and tell the truth it makes an impact.”