Three years ago, I started this blog to help make science more accessible to anyone and everyone who cares about science or issues tied to it. My goal was to excite people like you about science and to help show how scientific research is connected to every person's everyday life. I attempted to write in a non-partisan voice and to be as unbiased as possible, focusing on presenting facts and data.
|Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial in Washington, D.C.|
In a perfect world, my blog would have gotten so popular that celebrities and politicians were reading it and making decisions based on the facts I presented. That didn’t happen, and despite the growing popularity of science in popular culture, facts and scientific recommendation became politicized. To be clear, science and facts are not and never have been partisan. However, willingness to ignore scientific facts and the promotion and accessibility of science has, unfortunately, fallen victim to the intense partisanship of our country.
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I sincerely believe the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.” The “post-truth era” will not prevail. But we will have to resist the spread of misinformation and “alternative facts” to ensure our democracy stays intact. If we don’t fight for truth, our world could devolve to the dystopian future depicted at the beginning of the movie Interstellar, where humans are forced to live in hostile environmental conditions as a result of climate change and history and science textbooks are altered by government officials.
Because of this real threat that is quickly descending upon our country, I have spent my first half-year living in Washington, D.C. doing everything I can to defend science. I joined the leadership board of 500 Women Scientists, an organization formed to promote an inclusive and diverse scientific community. That means defending the science itself along with policies that are evidence-based. Science is intertwined with social and economic policies as much as it is on the surface of funding to do the research.
Science needs diverse representation to bring together the best ideas and minds that will solve global challenges like climate change, anti-bacterial resistant disease, and overpopulation. Many brilliant minds are never given the opportunity to contribute to STEM. Some kids are never able to afford to go to college, no matter how hard they work. Some are never given a chance to succeed with biased teachers and magazines that depict scientists and engineers as white and male. Many are told they can't succeed so they never even try. Some people live in the wrong country, and are never given the chance to share their ideas. Systemic inequality is limiting the scientific potential we have in the U.S. and around the world.
Social, economic, and foreign policies change the way the United States and other countries do science. We are at a critical fork in the road, and I am dedicated to ensuring that we, as a country, go down the right path.
I have loved the three years I spent writing Gray Matter Happy Hour, but I need to focus my efforts on more advocacy work related to the policies described above. I will continue writing through other mediums and hope that the blog posts I wrote on this website will continue to inform people who are curious about the topics I researched and wrote about.
If you want to help, check out 500womenscientists.org, and consider attending your local March for Science. Pay attention to reliable news sources. Call your representatives and voice your concerns over science and other important issues. Thank you for being a loyal reader, you kept me going throughout some stressful times in graduate school! Cheers, and let's get to work!