Thursday, March 2, 2017

Scientists Are Standing Up to Trump Because They've Always Stood Up to Bullshit | 2 March 2017

Science | Activism | Fake news | Environment

by Alejandra Borunda

Rachel Carson, whose book “Silent Spring” played a pivotal role in catalyzing the modern environmental movement, testifies before a Senate Government Operations Subcommittee in D.C. on June 4, 1963. (AP Photo)    
There’s this pervasive idea that science is somehow exempt from the ugly political world in which the rest of us wallow. But even a perfunctory look at the history of American science shows that this hasn’t always been the case—and the circumstances that pushed scientists into the public sphere in the past aren’t that different from those scientists are facing today.

Since Trump’s election, many scientists have found themselves in an unfamiliar position: actively advocating for their work, their jobs, and the very idea of free scientific inquiry. Scientists are mobilizing and organizing en masse, planning marches and running for office. They’re pushing back on potential nominees and boycotting conferences.

Kelly Ramirez, a microbiologist and one of the founders of the 500 Women Scientists network, never thought of herself as an activist before. “I had my head down,” she said. “You do your work, you publish your papers—it’s not encouraged to take political positions.” But after the election, she realized that she had to take a more active role. “Now, it’s a good time to start being louder,” she said.
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