US scientists prepare to fight back against Trump’s ‘war on science’

US scientists prepare to fight back against Trump’s ‘war on science’

Group of scientists hold signs at the Stand up for Science rally in Boston's Copley Square

The day was kind in Boston: no more blizzards or Siberian winds. In fact, the sun shone through.

 

The day was kind in Boston: no more blizzards or Siberian winds. In fact, the sun shone through.

A few hundred demonstrators were already in Copley Square when I arrived 20 minutes early. Hundreds more came by noon, some in white coats, many carrying signs saying “STAND UP FOR SCIENCE” and “WE DON’T WANT ALTERNATIVE FACTS”.

All those I questioned said they had never been to such a rally before, and generally preferred to get on with their work, researching or teaching. Some were professors at MIT or Harvard

One who addressed the crowd was the famed Naomi Oreskes, professor of the history of science at Harvard.

Others insisted they were not science professionals, only concerned citizens who benefit every day from the results of good research

Boston is science central, with Harvard, MIT, Tufts, Boston University and scores of other institutions doing frontline investigations within a few miles of each other.

Already there are drastic signs of the Trump administration’s attempted cuts, sanctions and changes.

When, earlier, I went to MIT to interview Phiala Shanahan, winner of the Bragg Award for the best physics PhD in Australia (she comes from Adelaide and has just been named in Forbes Magazine’s Top 30 Under 30 in science) the desk next to her was vacant.

Naomi Oreskes speaks at the Stand up for Science rally in Boston

Her young colleague doing postdoc work at the Department of Theoretical Physics is from Iran and had fallen foul of the threatened immigration laws. Dr Shanahan was furious

Before the rally, John Holdren of Harvard, who was President Obama’s chief scientific adviser, deplored the way scientists have been painted as “elite” — once a desirable term, now an indication you are remote from the real people out there.

Professor Holdren listed the clear benefits of science to everybody, from better medicine and efficient systems to the devices we all use, crave and can’t imagine doing without.

But he also insisted that science creates real wealth, preserves our precious environment and warns us all about the dangers of issues like climate change. His list of concerns was stark.

“So far what we’ve heard about the economic policy of the new administration is that they want to cut taxes, spend a trillion or 1.5 trillion on infrastructure, boost the defence budget — and if they do all that the numbers simply don’t add up,” he said

For More: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-25/us-scientists-prepare-to-fight-trumps-war-on-science/8296892

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.