19 April 2017

Aiming to demonstrate science’s crucial value to the world, University of Queensland researchers will hit the streets on Saturday in the March for Science

Marches will be held in 11 Australian cities and 440 locations globally, as scientists and their supporters unite to celebrate science and to champion robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity.

The UQ School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences head, and March for Science Brisbane Organising Committee member, Professor Paul Young, said the movement started in the US in the first week of Donald Trump’s presidency.

“Public databases and government authority websites were closed down, and government scientists were forbidden from communicating on issues that their individual expertise covered,” Professor Young said.  

“A peaceful ‘March on Washington DC’ was proposed to highlight the importance of science in society.”

He said the march idea quickly spread internationally as the scientific community saw the danger of “alternative facts” and belief-driven policy starting to take precedence over scientific evidence.

Professor Young said this was increasingly evident with issues such as climate change and the value of vaccines in public health.

“Australia is not immune and it is scary to see how much recent airtime has been given to views that go against almost all available evidence,” Professor Young said.

He said the worldwide March for Science movement was a call for science that upheld the common good and for political leaders and policymakers to enact evidence-based policies in the public interest.

“This is not a march of scientists, it is a march for science,” Professor Young said.

“Science isn’t simply a collection of rules and facts, it is a process by which we acquire knowledge.

“We all do that, every day, and it is this scientific method and the knowledge that accumulates that I’m marching in support of.

“Everyone in our community should be happy to stand up for that, as a large part of our modern lives is underpinned by science.”

More information on Brisbane’s March for Science is here

Contact: Professor Paul Young, p.young@uq.edu.au; UQ Communications, 07 3346 0561, communications@uq.edu.au