Speed Reads

March

Scientists are planning their own march on Washington

The Women's March on Washington and its "sister" marches around the U.S. and the world were such a success, a group of scientists is planning its own Scientists' March on Washington. The idea was apparently hatched on Saturday on a Reddit feed, and it now has its own logo, website, Twitter account, and a rapidly growing Facebook group, where more than 20,000 people had joined by Wednesday morning. Jonathan Berman, a postdoc at University of Texas Health Science Center, was in on the Reddit conversation and is co-chairman of the nascent march, with health writer Caroline Weinberg, The Washington Post reports.

When is the march? "We're still in the very earliest stages," the website says. "The date will be announced as soon as it is available." Will there be "sister science marches"? "Absolutely," the group said on Twitter. Are there really enough scientists to fill the Mall? "Anyone who uses and values these tools for understanding the world, not just professional scientists, may participate," the website says. Are there any guiding values? Yes: Evolution is real, and so is climate change, and the U.S. government needs apolitical science for its own good and the Earth's.

The organizers will make more definitive plans this weekend, Weinberg told The Washington Post. "We were inspired (well, infuriated) by the current attacks on science from the new administration," she said, but the Trump administration barring federal research agencies from communicating with the public really "lit a fire under us." Weinberg added: "Slashing funding and restricting scientists from communicating their findings (from tax-funded research!) with the public is absurd and cannot be allowed to stand as policy." The march is nonpartisan, according to the website.

Will anything come of this? Well, at least 200 scientists, organized in two women-in-science groups, participated in the Women's March, and some 95 people at the U.S. research base in Antarctica staged their own march on Sunday, so who knows. If anybody has a clever hat idea, there's an email account on the Scientists' March website.