By Emily Atkin
27 February 2017
(New Republic) – Earlier this month, thousands of scientists from around the world came together for their favorite nerd fest: The annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest scientific organization and publisher of the renowned Science journals. There were panels on everything from climate change to robots, hornless cows to honeybees. But this year’s meeting was different than any other in its 168-year history, for one reason: Donald Trump was president. And scientists were freaking out.
“I haven’t seen anything like it in my many decades in science and science watching,” Dr. Rush Holt, the president of AAAS and executive publisher of the Science journals, told the New Republic.
Most scientists are uncomfortable talking politics because their work needs to be perceived as objective rather than partisan. But ever since America elected a president who’s made scientifically inaccurate statements on everything from vaccines to climate change, more and more scientists are stepping into the spotlight to stand up for their profession. That includes Holt, who announced Wednesday that AAAS would partner with the March for Science, an Earth Day rally with the primary goal of preserving and promoting evidence-based policymaking.
In a conversation with the New Republic, Holt—who is also a former U.S. Congressman—talked about the unprecedented level of political anxiety among American scientists, and how those scientists should navigate these murky waters. [more]