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Thousands turn out for science march in nation's capital

Bill Nye "The Science Guy," center, attends the March for Science event in Washington on April 22, 2017. (Associated Press)
Bill Nye "The Science Guy," center, attends the March for Science event in Washington on April 22, 2017. (Associated Press)

Scientists and their supporters took to the streets of Washington and other cities around the world Saturday, with many expressing worries about a diminishing role for fact-based research under the Trump administration.

Waving signs with slogans like “Science is Real” and “Ask for Evidence!” the marchers in the nation’s capital gathered under drizzly skies at the base of the Washington Monument, a short distance from the White House. The crowd swelled by the thousands even as the light rain turned to a downpour.

The event, timed to coincide with Earth Day, was billed as nonpartisan, with scientists, students, researchers and advocates worldwide seeking to promote the role of science in policymaking and public life.

Organizers encouraged participants to wear work gear such as their lab coats, or to dress as a science hero. Nancy Davis of Baltimore came to the Washington march decked out in full Revolutionary War-era regalia as Benjamin Franklin; she said her chemist sister approved of the tribute to the Founding Father and part-time electricity experimenter.

Marcher Jeanne Walton, 51, an eighth-grade science teacher at Central York Middle School in York, Pa., said she worried about the effect of some current political rhetoric on her young students.

“I’m watching science being denied and undermined,” said Walton, who was marching with her 18-year-old son, Trey, a mechanical engineering major at Temple University in Philadelphia. “We’re replacing facts with propaganda.”

Hours before the Washington march, parallel events took place in later time zones. Among the larger events were marches in Berlin, London and Geneva.

More marches were taking place in other U.S. cities, including Boston and Los Angeles. Arctic scientists tweeted their support from the North Pole.   

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