March for Science – also in Aarhus and Copenhagen
On 22 April, researchers, students and worried citizens around the world will take to the streets to demonstrate their support for scientific research and evidence-based politics. Joint union representative Olav W Bertelsen and member of AU's board Sune Koch Rønnow call on colleagues and fellow students to take part.
March for Science in Danmark
There will be around 400 marches worldwide. So far, two marches have been announced in Denmark. The marches take place on 22 April, which is also Earth Day.
March for Science – Copenhagen
22 April at 13:00.
The march starts at the southern corner of Fælledparken and goes through the streets of Copenhagen to Christiansborg.
Opening speech by Anja C. Andersen, associate professor at the Niels Bohr Institute.
More speakers to be announced.
March for Science – Aarhus
22 April at 13:15.
The march starts at the city hall square in Aarhus and goes to Kloster Torv (the route is awaiting approval by the police).
March for Science has become an international movement with almost 400 marches around the world. In Denmark, Copenhagen was first to join the movement, but Aarhus is now also ready with a march in support of science and freedom of research.
Olav W. Bertelsen, who is associate professor of computer science and joint union representative for the academic staff (BOTH academic and administrative) at AU is one of the organisers of the march in Aarhus. He urges his colleagues and the students at AU to take part in the march on 22 April.
"It’s an opportunity to help create awareness of the important role that free science plays in society. Free science is not controlled by political objectives or economic interests. It’s about creating knowledge that we can use as an objective basis for decision-making and for the development of society and the world," he says.
Lack of political respect for science
March for Science can also be seen as a protest against fake news and politicians who use facts as they please. Among others the American President Donald Trump, who has called research on global warming for a scam. But according to Bertelsen, examples of a lack of political respect regarding research results can also be found in Denmark.
"Not so long ago we saw colleagues at AU put under pressure to alter scientific facts during work on the government’s agriculture package. However, a new standard contract has made this less likely to happen again."
Bertelsen mentions another example. The Liberal Party spokesman on transport, Karsten Pihl Lorentzen, defended a proposal to increase speed limits on the roads despite the fact that traffic researchers concluded that when speeds are increased, the number of traffic fatalities also increase. Karsten Pihl Lorentzen stated in connection with this that research must be combined with real life.
"He accused the researchers of not understanding reality, overruled the research and turned it into a result of private beliefs," says Bertelsen.
Must be taken seriously
Mathematics student Sune Koch Rønnow, who is a member of AU's board and former chair of the Student Council, is also among the initiators of the march in Aarhus. He encourages his fellow students – and anyone else for that matter – to spend two hours of their Saturday on 22 April on demonstrating that scientific work at the university is important and must be taken seriously.
"It’s a case of showing that science is important, and that you can’t reject scientific facts, as is the case in some political circles. Science must have a prominent position in society and should be taken seriously by politicians," says Rønnow.
The march in Aarhus is not yet finalised as the organisers are waiting for approval from the police, and the speakers are not yet finalised. But you can stay updated on Facebook, says Rønnow.
Translated by Peter Lambourne