The Champaign-Urbana March for Science, held on Saturday, April 22, 2017, was attended by more than 5,000 people from the campus and local community. This was a nationwide event organized by scientists to demonstrate the importance of science in everybody's life and to support evidence-based policymaking and robust funding for research.
The Champaign-Urbana march itself consisted of a rally of two speeches, a march through Downtown Champaign and a return to the Orpheum Children's Science Museum for five more speeches. All of the speakers were from the community and represented a cross-section of the science, including students, educators, researchers and administrators.
Department Head Martin Gruebele attended the march along with many graduate students and faculty members from the Department of Chemistry.
"I'm not normally one to go to marches, but the health of science is so important to the US, I decided to come to this one. It was bustling with activity, mirroring the much larger marches in Washington D.C. and other US cities," Gruebele said.
Dr. Alexander Scheeline, emeritus faculty, came out to support the march on this nice spring day. He supported the march because "If science is the search for consistency between observation and description, is it any wonder that those who want to control us feel the first thing they need to undermine is the legitimacy of scientific dominance in policy setting?"
He and his wife, Alice Berkson, made their own signs for the march, which said “This is Ridiculous” and “Science Supports Us”.
Dr. Scheeline explained his sign: "I love wordplay. My sign is ambiguous because it is unclear what the antecedent to 'This' is." For example, it "is ridiculous in the 21st century to have to make the case that STEM is worthy of investment," and "it is ridiculous to have scientists marching around shouting instead of doing something productive in theory, simulation, or experimentation. What a waste of talent!"
Mary Jo Hettinger
July 5, 2017