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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
April 23, 2017

Photo shows marchers on a street holding a giant banner that extends from curb to curb that reads “March for Science.”
Credit: Cheryl Hogue/C&EN
The March for Science in Washington, D.C., proceeds from the Washington Monument down Constitution Avenue toward the U.S. Capitol.

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.

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.

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.

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.

5 students from Cal. State Univ. with signs
Credit: Jyllian Kemsley/C&EN
California State University, Stanislaus, chemistry professor Elvin Alemán (center) made the three-hour trek with several students to march in San Francisco.
a man attends the New York City March for Science in the rain.
Credit: Michael McCoy/C&EN
Despite his professed desire to be doing something else, a man attends the New York City March for Science in the rain.
a man attends the New York City March for Science in the rain.
Credit: Lisa Jarvis/C&EN
T-Rex puppets weave through the crowds at Chicago’s March for Science.
Credit: Cheryl Hogue/C&EN
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: Sarah Everts/C&EN
The March for Science in Berlin ended up at the Brandenburg Gate, which once stood at the Berlin Wall.
Credit: Lisa Jarvis/C&EN
Chicago’s march attracted an estimated 40,000 people.
Credit: Linda Wang/C&EN
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: Jyllian Kemsley/C&EN
Signs in San Francisco include science jokes, notes that marchers were unpaid, and several “Grandmas for Science.”
Credit: .
Berlin’s graffiti artists put their art on posters for the city’s march.
Credit: Michael McCoy/C&EN
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: Cheryl Hogue/C&EN
Demonstrators in Washington, D.C., call for continued federal funding for research grants.
Credit: Lisa Jarvis/C&EN
Attendees raise their signs as they began their march down Columbus Drive to Chicago’s museum campus.
Credit: Sarah Everts/C&EN
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: Cheryl Hogue/C&EN
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: Lisa Jarvis/C&EN
A high school student shows his chemistry enthusiasm at Chicago’s march.
Credit: Michael McCoy/C&EN
A woman at the New York City march holds a sign with chemistry content—and a subtle political message about President Trump.
Credit: Jyllian Kemsley/C&EN
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: Rudy Baum
Climate change and environmental protection were themes at the marches, including in Portland, Ore.
Credit: Rudy Baum
A marcher in Portland, Ore., quotes Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman on a sign.


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