MARCH FOR SCIENCE

By Paul Gabrielsen, senior science writer, University Marketing and Communications

On Earth Day, Saturday, April 22, Utahns will join others around the world in a March for Science, a celebration of the many ways that science improves the quality of life in our communities and on our planet. Events in Utah are scheduled in Logan, Moab, Park City, St. George and Salt Lake City. Salt Lake’s march begins at City Creek Park at 3 p.m. and proceeds to the State Capitol to hear from speakers, including Nobel Laureate Mario Capecchi, professor of biology, and Claudio Villanueva, professor of biochemistry at the University of Utah. All are welcome to attend.

Organizers note that the march is not a partisan nor a political statement, but is an all-inclusive recognition of the vital role science plays in advancing the common good: better medicine, new therapies, novel communication tools, cleaner air and stronger national security.

“Science is all around us. Scientists live in our neighborhoods, coach our kids’ soccer teams, sing in our church choirs, cheer for local football teams, and hike in our beautiful outdoors,” says Nalini Nadkarni, professor of biology helping to organize the march.

“Nearly everything we do or use has some science behind it,” says Olivia Miller, doctoral candidate in the Department of Geology and Geophysics, and co-organizer of the march. For example, scientists use measurements of snow and rain, weather, stream flows, and groundwater in wells to manage water resources like reservoirs and water treatment plants better, she continues.

“In this way, science is something everyone can support because it allows us to be able to have reliable, safe running water in our homes.  We hope the march demonstrates that all types of people in Utah support science because all types of people benefit from science.”

The organizers hope that those who attend the march — including scientists, non-scientists, and science fans of all ages — come away with an appreciation of the curiosity and wonder that drives scientists. Support for science education is a long-term investment, organizers say, but the return is no less than the technologies and treatments that will shape and enhance our future.