Although inspired by the decidedly anti-Trump Women's March, the science march organizers stressed that their action is meant to be nonpartisan and apolitical. Coinciding with Earth Day, the March for Science aims to "defend the role science plays in our health, safety, economies, and governments".
What's different now "is that the most powerful country in the world is attacking science, is attacking evidence-based logical thinking", Jarvis says.
"We're all busy every day, so if you're not surrounded by scientists talking about this you might forget how important it is to you".
They came in numbers that were mammoth if not quite astronomical.
Their movement was echoed in hundreds of satellite events across the United States and around the world, from Sydney to Accra. Gabriel says "free research and teaching are the supporting pillars of an open and modern society".
"March for Science, is the chance to make my voice along with millions of other voices heard of just how important science has been to me and how important it is to everyone in the world for that matter". From the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS, the publisher of Science) to the editorial board of Nature and the New York Academy of Sciences and its counterparts across the country, the admonishment is clear: Get out and march!
Which is pretty much what the Trump administration is doing with science anyway. Villa-Komaroff says she worries that the definition of "fact" has changed.
"The problem we face now is that there are very large megaphones at the disposal of people who are promoting their own special interests in the guise of scientific facts", said Myron Ebell, the director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute.
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"People are anxious about scientific integrity being eroded or diminished", said Valorie Aquino, co-chair of the national March for Science effort.
In Washington, the day begins with teach-ins scheduled to start at 9 a.m. local time on the grounds around the Washington Monument.
Denis Hayes, who co-organized the first Earth Day 47 years ago, said the crowd he saw from the speaker's platform on the National Mall in Washington was energized in a rare way, similar to what he saw in the first Earth Day. Embrace themes that are seen as serving the greater good on a path to a better tomorrow: eradicate disease, abolish hunger, explore the universe, and ensure environmental sustainability. Scientists of all types are reaching out to the public, sharing their expertise and communicating how their work positively affects our daily lives and the health of our communities. "We need science now more than ever". Demonstrations are also scheduled in U.S. cities including San Francisco, along with smaller towns like Dillingham, Alaska.
It all started with a tweeted picture of a child holding a pro-science sign at the January 22 March for Women, followed by health educator Caroline Weinberg's tweet, "Hell hath no fury like a scientist silenced", and swiftly grew into the largest protest since the women's event. It's so powerful, it has taken us from Galileo's first look through a telescope to our modern science-based, highly technological, space-faring civilization in a blink of cosmic time - only four centuries.
In Paris, a banner in French read: "We are the resistance against the orange menace in Washington!"
Lewis focused on the issue of climate change and the tactic of stifling debate by labeling skeptics "climate deniers". Tymecki's wife developed a serious bacterial infection after delivering the baby but he said that thanks to the scientific discoveries and technological developments his wife survived. "We want to really effect change in a bigger way than we might have been able to do up till now".
"That we are now marching together is testament to just how threatened our disparate community feels".