Wednesday, 19 April 2017 9:40am
The University community is invited to don a lab coat or a creative science costume and join the global March for Science on Saturday 22 April.
The March for Science is a series of rallies and marches set to be held in over 500 cities across the world on 22 April (which is also Earth Day) in support of politically independent scientific research, and scientifically informed public policy.
The March for Science movement has been created by scientists sceptical of the agenda of US President Donald Trump’s administration, and critical of its policies widely viewed as hostile to science.
Dunedin will be one of the first cities in the world to host its rally – which will be held on the Museum Reserve from 11am to 2pm.
The Dunedin rally expands on the global initiative by embracing all areas of intellectual endeavour, showcasing the variety of ways science and knowledge contribute to society, and providing a platform for educators, researchers, and business leaders to engage with the local community.
The event will be opened by Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull and will feature several University of Otago staff, including Biochemistry’s Professor Peter Dearden, Zoology’s Professor Hamish Spencer and Anatomy’s Dr Louise Parr-Brownlie.
"It will be a great day filled with interesting people and fun science for the whole family!"
One of the organisers, Cindy Hall, says universities are at the heart of many scientific discoveries, from fundamental research into how our universe works to commercialising new technologies that save lives and improve livelihoods.
“Rather than the hard work of scientists being accepted and having Government policy fit to new information, recent trends have shown the opposite; science is manipulated or outright denied in order to fit policy,” she says. “This is, of course, prominently on display in the US in regards to climate change.
“We encourage Otago staff, the people who make it their life's work to methodologically and systematically pursue truth, to come out and engage with the public about what they do and how they do it, to show that science is not partisan and that our current understandings of the world should always be the foundation of policy making.”
The rally will feature mobile food providers and a sausage sizzle, along with a science costume, hat and poster competition.
“We encourage attendees to design science posters, wear science hats, or dress up as a scientist or science critter,” Dr Hall says. “It will be a great day filled with interesting people and fun science for the whole family!”
March for Science
Saturday 22 April, 11am to 2pm
Museum Reserve (The University Link if wet)