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American Astronomical Society Joins March for Science

27 Mar 2017

The American Astronomical Society (AAS) has joined with more than 100 other scientific organizations across all disciplines to become an official partner of the March for Science (#marchforscience). Scheduled for Saturday, 22 April, in Washington, DC, the March for Science “champions robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity.”

The event began as a grass-roots organization of young researchers and quickly grew into a massive nationwide, then global, effort, with satellite rallies now planned in more than 400 cities across the United States and worldwide. As the organizers write on their website, “We unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence based policies in the public interest.”

Billed as a peaceful and nonpartisan event, the march will stress the importance of science to humanity and the role science has to play in informing government policy. The AAS Council has endorsed the event’s principles and goals, which include advocating for robust federal funding for all scientific disciplines and promoting diversity and inclusion — because scientific discoveries and inventions are made by people from all cultural backgrounds, belief systems, orientations, genders, and abilities.

“I’m pleased that my colleagues on the Council agreed that we should sign on as an official sponsor of the March for Science,” says AAS Executive Officer Kevin B. Marvel. “Science and reason have never been more important to this country and its citizens, yet they are under attack from many quarters. If we in the scientific community don’t speak out for sensible evidence-based policy, we can’t expect anybody else to do so.”

The AAS has been promoting astronomy, and science more generally, for decades — both as an organization (through its policy staff and volunteer Committee on Astronomy and Public Policy) and by supporting its members in their own advocacy efforts. On 21-22 March more than a dozen Society members visited Capitol Hill to meet with congressional staffers, and others will participate in the Science-Engineering-Technology Working Group’s Congressional Visits Day in late April.

To support members who live in the DC area or who plan to visit to participate in the main march, the AAS has set up two online forums:

On the morning of the march the AAS Executive Office, in Farragut Square near the White House, will open to provide refreshments to members as space allows. For members who wish to organize or participate in satellite marches in other cities, the AAS will help where possible. And, as always, the Society maintains a variety of online resources advising astronomers and other scientists how to engage effectively with policy makers year-round.

“I plan to participate in the March for Science myself,” says Marvel, “and I look forward to joining other like-minded members in a nonpartisan show of support for science and its important role in our modern world.”

Contacts:
Rick Fienberg
AAS Press Officer
+1 202-328-2010 x116

Kevin B. Marvel
AAS Executive Officer
+1 202-328-2010 x114

The American Astronomical Society (AAS), established in 1899, is the major organization of professional astronomers in North America. The membership (approx. 8,000) also includes physicists, mathematicians, geologists, engineers, and others whose research interests lie within the broad spectrum of subjects now comprising contemporary astronomy. The mission of the American Astronomical Society is to enhance and share humanity's scientific understanding of the universe, which it achieves through publishing, meeting organization, education and outreach, and training and professional development.