Saturday, 22 April 2017

Aye for Sci (ending with a cèilidh)

We felt the spirit of the Scottish enlightenment today at Edinburgh's #MarchforScience - or #AyeforSci. One of the many marches held in cities around the world, it began at the top of Princess Street, marched around Calton Hill, and ended up at the Scottish Parliament where, naturally, we had a cèilidh.

The weather was great, the mood was buoyant, the signs were fantastic. There were around 600 people, both scientists and non-scientists. There were babies, children, parents, students, the young and old.  There were also plenty of pups for science (see below).
The march arrives at the Scottish Parliament, at the base of Arthur's Seat.
The speakers (including Dame Lesley Anne Glover) touched on the major themes of the march. There was solidarity with scientists in the US who are faced with a leadership who actively turn from science and deny it, in place of "alternative facts". This includes dangerous climate deniers, and anti-vaxxers, who harm not just themselves, but put all of us in danger. Secondly we were marching because there is a general trend in many countries away from evidence-based policy-making, with some politicians even actively discrediting scientists and other experts. Thirdly to recognise that we have to address the gulf between scientists and non-scientists, and make it clearer what it is we do, and why. People are turning away from expertise - we must ask why, and fix this!

 As Dame Glover said: "we want to live in an age of reason."

At the end, a band struck up and the organisers talked everyone through the steps to several epic Scottish dances. The flying Scotsman, which was described as an extended metaphor for photons and light receptors in the eye, being possibly the most baffling to watch, let alone perform!

Anyway, I wanted to share some of the pictures from the day. Thank you to everyone who made it possible. I'm grateful to have been able to take part.

Marching to parliament! (I'm in the teal coat) (Pic by Amelia Bain)
That's Alfred Russel, not William!

The bees, the bees!
Two pups for science. Coats read "Caution, lab test" and "Staffies dig science"

Swishing labcoats, great addition to any ceilidh.

(All pics by me unless otherwise stated)