In case you missed it, scientists are running for Congress. Largely thanks to the actions of the political action group 314 Action, academics from fields as diverse as cancer research and volcanology are gearing up to take on the climate change-denying acolytes of the Trump administration.
Back in June, we spoke to the masterminds behind this unprecedented drive to make American science great again. In the months since then, their efforts to get qualified scientists back into politics – precisely the opposite of what the current President is doing – has made giant strides forwards.
314 Action recently had a gathering in Washington DC of those on the frontline of the war on science, including researchers that are currently in power and those that were seeking office for the first time.
We at IFLScience thought this was a good opportunity to ask them to do what scientists are exceedingly well practiced in: peer review. This time around, the research focus was on the Trump administration, and it’s safe to say that they’re enraged, saddened, and aghast. As a result, they’re all the more emboldened to resist.
Here’s what some of them had to say.
Aerospace engineer Joseph Kopser tells us that the Trump administration's treatment of scientists remind him of the “hysterical witch hunts of yesteryear... the likes of which we haven’t seen since the Dark Ages.”
“We should be elevating the amazing works that scientists have accomplished throughout history and celebrating the continued accomplishments thereof – from Benjamin Franklin, to Neil DeGrasse Tyson, to the young men and woman who will pioneer the next great breakthrough.”
Kopser is running for TX-21, where Lamar Smith – the Republican Representative who is currrently is in charge of the embarrassingly anti-scientific House Science Committee – announced he is retiring from in 2018. If successful, Kosper said he “would restore science to its proper place... to ensure it’s viewed as a way to advance society, improve life, and enhance a greater understanding of our world.”
A Democratic congressman with a background in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering and a long history of supporting scientific research, Representative Paul Tonko (NY-20) thinks we’re at a flashpoint in history.
“Not since the Scientific Revolution has there been a more important moment to stand for the basic ideas that inquiry must be free and facts and evidence matter,” he tells IFLScience.
“Our economic growth depends on investing in scientists, technologists, entrepreneurs and engineers,” he highlights, explaining that “belittling the scientific community or cutting basic research will only cede our global leadership to nations that are determined to create the products and ideas of the future.”