Chemists march for science | Chemical & Engineering News
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Web Date: April 23, 2017

Chemists march for science

Practitioners, professors, students, and fans join with throngs in support of science
By Sarah Everts, Cheryl Hogue, Lisa Jarvis, Jyllian Kemsley, and Michael McCoy
Department: Science & Technology
Keywords: Chemists march for science
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The March for Science in Washington, D.C., proceeds from the Washington Monument down Constitution Avenue toward the U.S. Capitol.
Credit: Cheryl Hogue/C&EN
Photo shows marchers on a street holding a giant banner that extends from curb to curb that reads “March for Science.”
 
The March for Science in Washington, D.C., proceeds from the Washington Monument down Constitution Avenue toward the U.S. Capitol.
Credit: Cheryl Hogue/C&EN

YOUR PHOTOS


Many scientists shared their photos from the march with C&EN using the hashtags #chemistsmarch and #sciencemarch—see some of our favorites in this photo gallery.

Chemists, chemistry students, and fans of chemistry took to the streets on April 22 along with hundreds of thousands of others in support of science across the U.S. and the world. Billed as a nonpartisan event, the March for Science drew demonstrators who touted their love for science. More than 500 marches took place around the globe.

Many marchers in the U.S. called for the government to continue funding research in the face of calls by many in Congress to cut nondefense spending and proposals by President Donald J. Trump to slash federal support for many areas of science. Some criticized Trump’s climate change policies, including his plan to eliminate all of the Environmental Protection Agency’s climate programs.

The march in Washington, D.C., attracted participants from all over the country. One was Monica Ohnsorg, a chemistry graduate student at the University of Minnesota, who pulled an all-nighter to finish a homework set before catching a 6 AM flight to the nation’s capital.

Watch C&EN’s Speaking of Chemistry follow chemists from the University of Minnesota and Princeton University to learn why they marched for science in Washington, D.C.
Credit: C&EN/ACS Productions/Kyle Nackers
Watch C&EN’s Speaking of Chemistry follow chemists from the University of Minnesota and Princeton University to learn why they marched for science in Washington, D.C.
Credit: C&EN/ACS Productions/Kyle Nackers

Ohnsorg said she came to Washington to attend her first demonstration because she sees the future of science in collaborative research such as the National Microbiome Initiative and the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. “We have to let the government know that these initiatives need to be continued, the funding need to be continued,” she told C&EN.

In Chicago, Laure Dussubieux, a chemist at the Field Museum who brought her family to the march, said she wanted her two daughters to understand that science permeates every aspect of life. Moreover, she’s worried about the current climate for science in the U.S.

“I hope this march is going to show people that science is important and is worth funding,” she said.

A Chicago-based chemist with EPA who requested not to be named said she marched to support the important work of the agency. “Science is everything, and this Administration is not paying attention to the facts,” she said. But although she hoped the marches across the country would send a message to the White House, “unfortunately, I don’t think it’ll change anything,” she said.

While many scientists and science enthusiasts rallied, some researchers opted out. Some argued that organizers failed to appropriately address issues of diversity and inclusion, and others were unhappy with what they viewed as the politicization of the event.

The American Chemical Society, which publishes C&EN, officially supported the march in conjunction with its annual Chemists Celebrate Earth Day events, with the proviso that march organizers maintain a nonpartisan stance.

Scroll on to see scenes from the marches captured by C&EN reporters in Washington, D.C., Berlin, Chicago, New York City, and San Francisco. Former C&EN editor-in-chief Rudy Baum also contributed from Portland, Ore.

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California State University, Stanislaus, chemistry professor Elvin Alemán (center) made the three-hour trek with several students to march in San Francisco.
Credit: Jyllian Kemsley/C&EN
5 students from Cal. State Univ. with signs
 
California State University, Stanislaus, chemistry professor Elvin Alemán (center) made the three-hour trek with several students to march in San Francisco.
Credit: Jyllian Kemsley/C&EN
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Despite his professed desire to be doing something else, a man attends the New York City March for Science in the rain.
Credit: Michael McCoy/C&EN
a man attends the New York City March for Science in the rain.
 
Despite his professed desire to be doing something else, a man attends the New York City March for Science in the rain.
Credit: Michael McCoy/C&EN
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T-Rex puppets weave through the crowds at Chicago’s March for Science.
Credit: Lisa Jarvis/C&EN
a man attends the New York City March for Science in the rain.
 
T-Rex puppets weave through the crowds at Chicago’s March for Science.
Credit: Lisa Jarvis/C&EN
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University of Minnesota chemistry professor Lee Penn and graduate students Becky Rodriguez and Monica Ohnsorg bring messages about chemistry to the march in Washington, D.C.
Credit: Cheryl Hogue/C&EN
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University of Minnesota chemistry professor Lee Penn and graduate students Becky Rodriguez and Monica Ohnsorg bring messages about chemistry to the march in Washington, D.C.
Credit: Cheryl Hogue/C&EN
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The March for Science in Berlin ended up at the Brandenburg Gate, which once stood at the Berlin Wall.
Credit: Sarah Everts/C&EN
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The March for Science in Berlin ended up at the Brandenburg Gate, which once stood at the Berlin Wall.
Credit: Sarah Everts/C&EN
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Chicago’s march attracted an estimated 40,000 people.
Credit: Lisa Jarvis/C&EN
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Chicago’s march attracted an estimated 40,000 people.
Credit: Lisa Jarvis/C&EN
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A Chemists Celebrate Earth Day event in Washington, D.C., coincided with the March for Science there. At a teach-in, ACS volunteers engage young chemistry enthusiasts with a hands-on activity using iodine-containing ink to determine whether cabbage leaves, crackers, dollar bills, and yogurt-covered pretzels contained starch.
Credit: Linda Wang/C&EN
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A Chemists Celebrate Earth Day event in Washington, D.C., coincided with the March for Science there. At a teach-in, ACS volunteers engage young chemistry enthusiasts with a hands-on activity using iodine-containing ink to determine whether cabbage leaves, crackers, dollar bills, and yogurt-covered pretzels contained starch.
Credit: Linda Wang/C&EN
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Signs in San Francisco include science jokes, notes that marchers were unpaid, and several “Grandmas for Science.”
Credit: Jyllian Kemsley/C&EN
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Signs in San Francisco include science jokes, notes that marchers were unpaid, and several “Grandmas for Science.”
Credit: Jyllian Kemsley/C&EN
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Berlin’s graffiti artists put their art on posters for the city’s march.
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Berlin’s graffiti artists put their art on posters for the city’s march.
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The New York City march passes a hotel bearing the name of President Trump. Although organizers intended the march to be nonpartisan, for many, Trump was the political target of the event.
Credit: Michael McCoy/C&EN
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The New York City march passes a hotel bearing the name of President Trump. Although organizers intended the march to be nonpartisan, for many, Trump was the political target of the event.
Credit: Michael McCoy/C&EN
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Demonstrators in Washington, D.C., call for continued federal funding for research grants.
Credit: Cheryl Hogue/C&EN
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Demonstrators in Washington, D.C., call for continued federal funding for research grants.
Credit: Cheryl Hogue/C&EN
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Attendees raise their signs as they began their march down Columbus Drive to Chicago’s museum campus.
Credit: Lisa Jarvis/C&EN
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Attendees raise their signs as they began their march down Columbus Drive to Chicago’s museum campus.
Credit: Lisa Jarvis/C&EN
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In Berlin, Anika Dirks, a biochemist at the Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology in Magdeburg, Germany, hopes that the March for Science will make people around the world realize that “results and facts count.”
Credit: Sarah Everts/C&EN
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In Berlin, Anika Dirks, a biochemist at the Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology in Magdeburg, Germany, hopes that the March for Science will make people around the world realize that “results and facts count.”
Credit: Sarah Everts/C&EN
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Chemistry fans Poppy Swallow and Marissa Hill came to the march in Washington, D.C., from Ellicott City, Md., with their mothers. Hill says she likes chemistry because “it’s important for everyday life.”
Credit: Cheryl Hogue/C&EN
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Chemistry fans Poppy Swallow and Marissa Hill came to the march in Washington, D.C., from Ellicott City, Md., with their mothers. Hill says she likes chemistry because “it’s important for everyday life.”
Credit: Cheryl Hogue/C&EN
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A high school student shows his chemistry enthusiasm at Chicago’s march.
Credit: Lisa Jarvis/C&EN
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A high school student shows his chemistry enthusiasm at Chicago’s march.
Credit: Lisa Jarvis/C&EN
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A woman at the New York City march holds a sign with chemistry content—and a subtle political message about President Trump.
Credit: Michael McCoy/C&EN
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A woman at the New York City march holds a sign with chemistry content—and a subtle political message about President Trump.
Credit: Michael McCoy/C&EN
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University of California, Berkeley, materials science graduate student Clarissa Towle marches in San Francisco because “we so desperately need clean, sustainable, renewable energy, and we need our federal government to get on board with that.”
Credit: Jyllian Kemsley/C&EN
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University of California, Berkeley, materials science graduate student Clarissa Towle marches in San Francisco because “we so desperately need clean, sustainable, renewable energy, and we need our federal government to get on board with that.”
Credit: Jyllian Kemsley/C&EN
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Climate change and environmental protection were themes at the marches, including in Portland, Ore.
Credit: Rudy Baum
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Climate change and environmental protection were themes at the marches, including in Portland, Ore.
Credit: Rudy Baum
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A marcher in Portland, Ore., quotes Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman on a sign.
Credit: Rudy Baum
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A marcher in Portland, Ore., quotes Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman on a sign.
Credit: Rudy Baum
 
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Comments
Ira (Mon Apr 24 10:26:02 EDT 2017)
The US science like its military or government agencies is a social welfare program. Time to grow up big kids and stop asking parents for allowance.
Jon (Mon Apr 24 14:54:08 EDT 2017)
"social welfare program". Clearly Ira has never been a graduate student in a hard science field before and experienced 60-80 hour work weeks for what amounts to barely minimum wage pay. Most of that "allowance" goes to buying necessary equipment, chemicals, and necessary consumable supplies. And yet still, we frequently still need to take on teaching assistantships to support ourselves.
lana (Mon Apr 24 11:13:00 EDT 2017)
Yes, clearly public funding for public benefit research leads to terrible outcomes. I mean who wants vaccines, modern electronics, disease tests, fundamental understandings of human and vector pathology and transmission, advanced battery technology and material science?...
You do recognize you are typing at people who are trained to look at evidence, right @Ira?
Pat Giles (Wed Apr 26 14:56:55 EDT 2017)
No riots in the streets. No police cars overturned. No businesses burned. A logical position presented. A successful demonstration. Well done!
Valery Tsimmerman (Wed Apr 26 17:20:20 EDT 2017)
Obviously, this march was mostly pro-socialism than pro-science. It was held on Lenin's birthday not by chance. I wish those people would explore just a little what socialism has done to science and to scientists. Remember Anrei Sakharov, anybody? How about Lev Landau who was thrown to jail by the Stalinists. Does anybody know what Sharashka was? Looking at those photos I can only say, what a bunch of dupes!
KM (Mon May 15 09:15:35 EDT 2017)
Valery Tsimmerman - the march was held on Earth Day, ^%$@#$%!!!
Jennifer McMahon (Fri Apr 28 09:12:10 EDT 2017)
Pro-socialism? It was to stand up for science and it was held on Earth Day, not by chance. Far from dupes, they are concerned scientists who are standing up for what they believe in. Good job guys!
Steven Furyk (Sat May 06 10:39:58 EDT 2017)
Here is what concerns me....
Facts:
C&EN is a magazine for a science advocay group (I know that it is so very much more but I am trying to keep things as simple and focused as possible) that covers science related stories.
Most readers of C&EN are scientists.
This article described scientists peacefully protesting to protect science in America from real governmental threats to the integrity of our scientific comunity.
I see comments (now everyone is entitled to their own opinion and their speech should be protected by the first amendment) that are dispariging to the good citizen scientists who marched.
Questions:
Have we gone so far that every single piece of news must be filtered through our own political polarizing lens? Why would anyone say that scientists, nay anyone marching for science is a bad thing. I think science has do so much for us and has great potential to do so much more. Sure humans are flawed creatures and there are scientists that will try to manipulate science for their own personal gain to advance their beliefs. But science has a great error correcting mechanism in it. No one believes anything until someone (or in most cases several people) reproduce that persons work. If the work isn't reproducible or the model is flawed upon review by peers then the claim is forced to be retracted.
Our system of peer review has seemed to work pretty well for us for quite some time. Why would we think that it would simply stop working now because of some political turmiol that happens to be going on at the moment?
Cliff Burford (Mon May 29 00:26:20 EDT 2017)
My favorite sign:
There is No Planet B.

Wake up everybody, and smell the pollutants!
Science can fix it, but only if you allow us to.

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