Why I March: March for Science

The March for Science is this Saturday April 22nd. Thousands (perhaps hundreds of thousands) of scientists and supporters of science will take to the streets in Washington DC and over 517 cities in satellite marches around the globe. I will be marching virtually from my sister’s home in Bend, Oregon.

Why do I march? I march because science is incredible. How cool is it that some people have DNA from two different people in them? How cool is it that scientists are working on curing HIV/AIDS with cord blood transplants? How cool is it that science has increased the length and quality of our lives, in part by eradicating childhood diseases like polio?

My goal as as a scientist is to help scientists do what they do best: research. Research can only be done by funding and supporting science.  Since much of scientific funding comes from the National Institutes of Health and other government agencies, we need to make sure that this support of science continues to be a nonpartisan priority. We need to support our young scientists so that a generation of science isn’t lost.

My goal as a human (who happens to be a scientist) is to empower the public. I want to help the public understand science and health, but I also want everyone to know (or feel like they know) a scientist. It’s a tough road to slog when people don’t trust in science. A first step in fixing this may be making sure that every single American knows a scientist. A recent survey found that people are more likely to trust news from a Facebook friend. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone had a scientist as a Facebook friend?

So I march for science. I march for progress. I march for our present. I march for our future. And I march for all of you, since I am your Facebook science friend.

Persuading the Unpersuaded

I haven’t blogged for a while. I had a baby. Babies take up a lot of time and energy. Lack of sleep doesn’t make for good blogging.

But I also got discouraged.  This election and the potential impact it will have on science and health is discouraging.  The shouting of “fake news” from all corners of leadership because facts that they don’t like are being talked about is discouraging. (See a great video of Don Lemon walking off of the CNN set from real news being accused of being fake). My deep desire to share with you my passion for science but feeling like I need to address this political atmosphere (and really not wanting to because that’s not my passion and purpose) is discouraging.

But I’m a positive person. And as a positive person, I want to find a solution so that I can move forward and continue to do what I love to do – connecting science with the public.  So part  of my solution will be to stand will all people who support science and truth by participating in the March for Science on April 22nd here in Phoenix.

The other part of the solution will be harder.  I realized that not everyone knows a scientist. And maybe they don’t trust science and scientists because they have misconceptions of who we are and what we do. How can I persuade the unpersuaded and reach beyond the science bubble (as described in a recent Nature article)? I want EVERYONE to know a scientist, and I’ve realized it needs to start with me.

Stay tuned for more about this…but in the meantime, I will be blogging more in order to share with you all the awesomeness of science!!