At an estimate of 2,500 participants, the attendance at Goettingen’s March for Science on Saturday 22 April far exceeded the expectations of the organizers. Goettingen, Germany is a mid-sized university town in the heart of Germany which calls itself “the city of science” (“die Stadt, die Wissen schafft”) with a population just over 100,000 inhabitants. In the area of Germany known as “Measurement Valley,” it has a long history of famous scientists and boasts more Nobel Prize winners than any other in the world. The event was attended by scientists, non-scientists, families, residents, visitors, and various notable guests, such as presidents of nearby universities, foundation chairs, and political figures.
Despite the threat of rain, many people participated in the “Science Fun Warm Up” before the official start of the march. There were interactive science experiments, the opportunity to make your own sign, and various other family-friend activities. “Ask me anything” scientists holding signs (in whichever language they spoke) encouraged passersby to ask them about their work. Several organizers circulated through the crowd with microphones and asked participants to speak about why they were standing up for science.
With the crowd sufficiently warmed up, drums led the marchers through the city, ending with a rally on the grounds of the University of Goettingen. Organizers from Science March Göttingen shared why ‘they march for science’ and introduced a series of guest speakers. Dr. Ulrike Beisiegel, President of the University of Goettingen spoke about the importance of empirical research and the importance of freedom of research, underscoring the need for international cooperation. Dr. Gabriele Heinen-Kljajic, Minister for Science and Culture in Lower Saxony, talked about the importance of evidence-based discussion in the public and spoke in support for scholars and journalists worldwide who have been affected by their work. Dr. H. Pinar Senoguz, a Turkish scientist currently in exile in Germany, reported about her home country and the challenges that she and her colleagues are facing. She included a message from her colleagues in Turkey to the marchers. Pastor Ludgar Gaillard, an expert on local history, spoke about the history of scientific protest in Goettingen, which started influential movements in Germany such as the opposition of the use of tactical nuclear weapons. He called for scientists to continue to work for our future. Professor Arnulf Quadt, director of the II. Institute of Physics at the University of Goettingen, underscored the international nature of scientific research and the importance of empirical research. The event ended with a call to the March for Science participants to continue to engage in science and to engage in public dialogue on the value of science.
The “March for Science” in Goettingen is a grassroots initiative that is not affiliated with any state or private institution. The event was organized by an independent, non-partisan team consisting of scientists and non-scientists.
On Wednesday, April 19th, we are meeing to create posters for the science march, and everybody is invited to join (no matter if scientist or not)! The meeting starts at 5 pm (until 8 pm), and you can come in at any time. Location is the AStA building, Goßlerstraße 16. If you want, we’d be happy if you bring material (cardbord, pens, …), but we also have enough here. Looking forward to seeing you there!
Good news! Due to the very positive response to the March for Science Göttingen and the expected number of participants, we have extended the march route. Instead of stopping at the Auditorium, the march now goes till the university campus, Platz der Göttinger Sieben. The start of the demonstration remains at 11:00 am at the Gänseliesel.
We would also like to remind you of the pre-march program on Saturday at 10:00 am. At the science warm-up there will be family-friendly activites to get into the mood for the demonstration.
March for Science Göttingen
22. April, Gänseliesel
Warm-up: 10:00 am
March begin: 11:00 am
April 22nd, 2017 10:00 AM Gänseliesel Begin of march: 11:00 AM
On 22 April 2017 researchers are taking to the streets to speak up for a free, open and independent science. The science march will take place in Göttingen along with over 400 other cities worldwide, 14 in Germany. We will gather at 11 am at the Gänseliesel and walk down the Weender Straße to the Auditorium to listen to speeches of invited guests. We hope many of you will join us!
In order to celebrate science, we invite you to take part to discuss what science can offer and to educate the public about science. One hour before the march at 10 am, volunteering scientists meet at the Gänseliesel to informally discuss scientific topics with the general public. We are looking for volunteers and scientists who like to talk about their work and science in general. Communication would be preferably in German but non-German speakers will have lots of opportunities as well.
What could your participation look like? You can be as creative as you like, but here are a few suggestions you could do during the march and/or for the pre-event:
Make a sign or shirt saying: “Ich bin xyz-Wissenschaftler, frag mich alles“ (I’m a xyz-scientist, ask me anything)
Talk to people walking by if they are interested in science or a specific topic of your choice
Dress-up as your favorite scientist
Dress-up as your favorite science theory/effect
Bring the PhD-cart of your lab and decorate it
Bring (old) science posters, to show how communication among scientists looks like
Participate in our sign-making event (will happen a few days before the march)
Bring little experiments, to show science
Please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are curious and please let us know if you like to participate. If you have any questions, you can also contact us on social media. We would really appreciate your support and your contribution.
One of the scientific traditions of Göttingen is to pick up the freshly graduated Doctors with an individually decorated doctor cart. The doctors then make a stop at the old Rathaus, where they give the Gänseliesel a kiss and a bunch of flowers.
We think it would be great if the doctor carts would join the March for Science! If you work at the University and your institute can spare a cart, then why don’t you decorate it and bring it along on April 22nd. Make it nice and colorful, with pictures and graphics from your research, or make it rebellious and show your message.
You are not at the university, but like to build one, too? If you have a handcart or a wagon, show your solidarity and your passion for science, and decorate your own cart! Everybody is invited to join, young and old, and there are no limits to your creativity!