March for Science has become a national phenomenon. More and more number of scientists and science admirers join in. The campaign will hit the streets in multiple cities including Washington DC and Los Angeles on April 22, 2017. Though the campaign has made headlines ever since Donald Trump got elected as the President, surprisingly, many congress representatives are completely unaware of it.
In a recent incident, when Representative John Culberson, who is also the Chairman of the commerce, science and justice (CJS) appropriations subcommittee, U.S. House of Representatives, was asked about his views on the March for Science campaign, he answered that he has no knowledge what it is. When it was explained that the campaign advocates the importance of scientific research and demands that the government should recognize its importance while making budgetary decisions, he immediately approved of it, Science reported.
"I think it's a great idea," Culberson said. But most interestingly, he pointed out that 70 percent of the annual federal funding is concentrated on the "so-called entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid."
Only the rest 30 percent is allotted for space and scientific research programs and distributed between NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Census Bureau. He proposed that the funding allotted to these mandatory programs should be revised, so that the money can be spent on research studies. Though a bit unconventional, the March for Science organizers should make a critical analysis of Culberson's advice.
According to The Scientist, as the scientific community gears up for the first of its kind national movement, more and more researchers join in. Alex Bradley, a PhD scholar from the University of California, was one of them. According to Bradley, he was fed up of the misinterpretation and skepticism associated with the March for Science campaign. He finally decided to join in and contribute to the right cause behind it.
Even Culberson commented that, since the scientific community has always chosen to be aloof of the political and legislative campaigns, the March for Science campaign could provide a way to organize scientists and engineers to speak up and be heard.