Days after the Women's March on Washington and allied marches around the country produced possibly the largest demonstration in U.S. history, scientists began discussing the possibility of their own march on Washington, D.C., in response to steps taken by the Trump administration.
A date hasn't been set, but those discussions had drawn the interest of 64,000 Twitter followers by Wednesday afternoon and buzz elsewhere online. Caroline Weinberg, a public health researcher and one of the organizers involved in planning the March for Science, said the motivation was straightforward.
"Scientists worldwide have been alarmed by the clear anti-science actions taken by the Trump administration," she said. "It has been less than a week, and there have already been funding freezes and efforts to restrict scientists from communicating their findings (from tax-funded research!) with the public. These actions are absurd and cannot be allowed to stand as policy. This is not a partisan issue -- people from all parts of the political spectrum should be alarmed by these efforts to deny scientific progress. Scientific research moves us forward, and we should not allow asinine policies to thwart it."
The administration drew alarm from some quarters Tuesday over reports that staff at several agencies involved in science and research had been instructed to stop communications on their work with the public. And Wednesday the Associated Press reported that Environmental Protection Agency staff had been told scientific studies and data must undergo review by political staff before release.
Weinberg said organizers of the March for Science would meet Jan. 28 to develop a mission statement and to discuss how to make sure the event is diverse and inclusive.
"Diversity in science -- both in the researchers who participate and the topics we are focused on -- is a critically neglected area," she said. "We fully intend to emphasize diversity in both the planning of and mission statement for this march."
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