As scientists, we tend to be pretty great at failing – come on all you graduate students out there, you know what I’m talking about. Yet when it comes to stepping out of our comfort zones we freeze. Whether because we are just a bit more reserved or because we think people won’t get us, this has to change. If we don’t tell society what we need, nobody will. As scientists, we need to put ourselves out there, let people hear what we have to say. We need to be loud, we need to chant, and cheer. And draw complicated molecules that spark new conversations. We need to be the catalysts for change.
The need for scientists to take their stand led us to Earth Day and the March for Science. The feeling I had walking into Denver Civic Center warmed me more than the Colorado sunshine eventually did. Seeing so many scientists who were concerned for our world was an indescribable emotion.
There were people from every discipline, culture, and walk of life. There were all kinds of signs, from those addressing the existence of dinosaurs to others explaining why our kids need to be inspired by science. My experience with sign making was my first step to realizing how impactful the march would truly be for me, my friends, and fellow scientists. Personally, I went pretty chemistry based (pictured above) by drawing out Grubbs second generation ruthenium catalyst so we could all, as I said before, be catalysts for change. I knew it was a risk to put molecules on there, but I had two main reasons for this: it’s a March for Science, people should totally understand it. And, if they didn’t, it was a great icebreaker, a fantastic introduction into a conversation about the wonders of chemistry.
There were cheers for permanent funding, the acknowledgment of climate change, and increased focus on STEM education. It made me realize that we should all be STEMinists. This was the first step for more scientists making a break into politics, or just talking with the people around us, not only in different scientific disciplines but also in different fields all together.
So with that, I want to say thank you. Thank you not only to the scientists, but also the listening politicians, police force, moms, dads, siblings, and friends of us all. You came out, supported us and you helped our voices grow louder. From France to the United States, Australia to Germany, thank you, and let the March for Science continue!
Please send any pictures of your March to IYCN@IUPAC.org to be featured in our blog!
Picture above provided by Sophie Carenco (Paris, France), Christine Dunne (Denver, CO), Veit Haensch (Jena, Germany), and Torsten John (Leipzig, Germany).