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March for Science (in late April)

This Saturday, marches will take place around the world on Earth Day, celebrating what science has achieved, and highlighting the importance of publicly-funded science in society.

Modern life being full of the fruits of publicly funded research: The internet, microchips and GPS being commonly cited as the offspring of government funding of science through universities or research institutes. But barcodes, instant baby milk and touch screens also started out as a series of PhDs and academic papers. And yet if anything, today science is seen as less and less important to society as self proclaimed “experts” lead semi-organised rebellion against both the scientific process and validity of research. In my field, climate change, public perception about the human influence and potential impacts are far more sceptical than the science surrounding the subject. In fact, despite 97% of climate scientists and 97% of work on climate science shows a link between anthropogenic emissions and a warming climate. Yet for some reason, climate change is seen as “scam”, and research into it a waste of money. It is fair to say that public tolerance of using government funding for scientific research, especially when the advantages aren’t immediately obvious.

And that is what this march is for. To ensure that the value of government funded scientific research is known. It is specifically important for those sciences where immediate results in advancing technology aren’t obvious, such as climate change. And in the case of climate change, there is no commercial value to the research if it isn’t a global effort to understand and combat it.

That is why I’m marching. To ensure that the pursuit of science is recognised as important, and that in these changing times, both in the UK and around the world, science research remains at the heart of the country.

For more info on the march, see here.