Rochester advocates join worldwide March for Science

Apr 24, 2017
Originally published on April 22, 2017 12:05 pm

A cold, cloudy day was no match for the hundreds of science advocates rallying at the March for Science at Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Park Saturday morning.

The Rochester march was part of a worldwide call to action to unite as a diverse, non-partisan group calling for science that upholds the common good.

Rob Rolleston attended the rally wearing a lab coat, he is a data scientist and said facts need to be separate from politics.

"Science matters, truth matters, facts matter. And we're seeing an assault on the ability to actually have reasonable discussions."

Sarah McConnell, a neuroscientist who was wearing a knitted hat that looked like a brain, agreed.

"The thought that science can be threatened or can be politicized, that facts can be fake or real is just staggering to me."

Organizers said new policies threaten to further restrict scientists’ ability to research and communicate their findings, and hoped the marches would humanize science and remind people how it affects our everyday lives.

Suzanne Blackburn is a science educator and held a sign that read "Quakers for Science."

"We need to be focusing on critical thinking in this time and all times. And I’m also a person of faith and I want our community to know that just because someone is a believer doesn’t mean they think science is false."

Marchers were concerned about a range of issues including climate change and the use of fossil fuels, and were asking for open, honest science communication and inclusive public outreach.

Gene Gordon has been a physics teacher for over 30 years. He’s also a craft beer fan, which is why his sign said "No science, No beer!" But Gordon said his reasons for attending the march were much more serious.

"I've spent my career creating new scientists. And without science, this country would not be where it is today. Nobody hates science when they’re in a hospital. Nobody hates science when they’re in a car in an accident, so we have to support science to get a better future."

An expo followed the rally at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on East Main Street, with displays and speakers celebrating science and innovation in Rochester.