What started out as a simple call the action on a Reddit message board in January has blossomed into a massive international rally in support of science — and it's coming your way.
The first March for Science, which coincides with Earth Day on April 22, will take place in more than 500 communities worldwide and involve hundreds of thousands of scientists and science advocates. Inspired by the success of the U.S. Woman's March in January, organizers are hoping to draw attention to recent federal cuts to environmental protections and scientific programs, and to celebrate the important role that science plays in our modern world.
"New policies threaten to further restrict scientists’ ability to research and communicate their findings," the official website states. "We face a possible future where people not only ignore scientific evidence, but seek to eliminate it entirely. Staying silent is a luxury that we can no longer afford. We must stand together and support science."
With backing for the March coming from more than 150 major scientific organizations, involvement across all disciplines from astronomy to genetics to teaching is set to converge into one major voice. We're also starting to hear from some notable names in science who are poised to join the masses or are encouraging participation.
Below are just some of the well-known scientist who have announced their support or will likely do so in the days leading up to the March for Science:
Renowned anthropologist and conservationist Jane Goodall is urging people to participate in the March for Science and let the world — and in particular, politicians — know why it's important in our lives.
“Many scientists have spent years collecting information about the effect of human actions on the climate,” she says in the video posted to Facebook (and shown above). “There’s no question that the climate is changing, I’ve seen it all over the world. And the fact that people can deny that humans have influenced this change in climate is quite frankly absurd.”
While Goodall can't take part in a local march due to her work in the field, she's promising to be there in another way.
“I so wish I could be marching with you," she says. "I can’t, I will be far away. But there will be a cardboard, life-size Jane marching, showing everybody that I want to be there and that I shall be there with you all in spirit."
Bill Nye the Science Guy will help headline the main rally in Washington, D.C.
“Science is what makes our world what it is,” Nye said last month after announcing he would participate. “To have a movement or a tendency to set science aside is in no one’s best interest ... but nevertheless, that's what's happening in the U.S.”
Nye, who serves as the CEO of the space-focused, nonprofit Planetary Society, added in a letter posted online that the march offers a moment to reaffirm the underlying science that makes space exploration possible.
"When we explore the cosmos, we come together and accomplish extraordinary things," he writes. "Space science brings people of all walks of life together to solve problems and experience the unparalleled awe of exploration. Everyone — regardless of race, gender, creed or ability — is welcome in our journey to advance space science. Our future depends on science, and space exploration is an invaluable investment of our intellect and capabilities."
Neil DeGrasse Tyson
While astrophysicist and cosmologist Neil DeGrasse Tyson has yet to publicly support the March for Science, recent comments suggest that silence won't last. (He just released the video above this week.)
While addressing a crowd in North Carolina in early February, Tyson warned of the consequences of the U.S. turning its back on science.
"The consequence of that is that you breed a generation of people who do not know what science is nor how and why it works," he said. "You have mortgaged the future financial security of your nation. Innovations in science and technology are the [basis] of tomorrow’s economy."
Professor Brian Cox
English physicist Brian Cox, a science series narrator largely expected to become the eventual successor to Sir David Attenborough, described public demonstrations like the March for Science as "a good thing to do." But speaking with The Sydney Morning Herald, he warned against hubris in any walk of life.
"To do good science you need honesty and humility — and those aspects of good science should be applied in political life," he said.
The political community, he added, would do well to embrace the same character tenants as the scientific community.
"Science is not a collection of absolute truths," he said. "Scientists are delighted when we are wrong because it means we have learnt something."
Speaking to a Hong Kong audience via hologram, Stephen Hawking recently decried what he views as a "a global revolt against experts." The 75-year-old theoretical physicist added that the timing of such views comes as the world faces unprecedented environmental threats.
"The answers to these problems will come from science and technology," he said.
While Hawking has not yet commented on the March for Science, he's aware that the attack on science is of grave concern.
"I have many friends and colleagues [in the U.S.] and it is still a place I like and admire in many ways," he added, "but I fear that I may not be welcome."
"Big Bang" actress and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik is planning to address thousands at a March for Science Rally in Silicon Valley on the big day.
"I'm thrilled and honored to join with the science lovers of Silicon Valley to show my support for everything we stand for together: as scientists, as citizens, and as lovers of all that is possible when we work together," she said.
Bialik, who earned her Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA in 2007, said a 2013 interview that she's passionate about inspiring others to consider careers in science.
"So as far as my own passion, it’s nice to play a scientist on TV and that, I suppose, makes me a role model," she told Forbes. "But I also think it’s wonderful to be able to use that platform to be able to influence — hopefully positively — young girls and to show that science is cool."
This story was originally published on April 18 and has been updated with more recent information.