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Scientists Across Mass. Join On Boston Common For March For Science

BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Scientists from across Massachusetts joined the Boston chapter of the national March for Science.

Marchers gathered on Boston Common at 1 p.m. for the Saturday rally.

Organizers describe the march as nonpartisan and say it's meant to celebrate "the discovery, understanding, and sharing of scientific knowledge as crucial to the success, health, and safety of the human race."

Among those participating are scientists and researchers from Harvard University, MIT, Clark University, UMass-Lowell, UMass-Boston, and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Mass General Hospital President, Dr. Slavin said a cut in funding will harm research.

"Right now in a lab somewhere in this region a scientist is following a hunch, probing an idea, figuring out a pathway that in five, 10, 20 years will have a life-altering impact on patients," Slavin said. "We must make sure that our hospital, our nation and our society have the resources and the will to enable this promising idea to germinate, grow and flourish."

Mass General doctor Regina LaRocque agreed, saying support for public funding for science is vital.

"This is all about the importance of publicly funded science for our country and for our democracy, and for the economy of Boston," LaRocque said.

Concern for science funding is shared by more than just the medical community. Charles Mayo, who studies whales at UMass Boston's Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies, says he was on the Common because science is basic to all life.

"It's our medicine. It's our electronics. It's our automobiles, everything we have around us that we value. Remarkably there are forces in this country that think it has no validity," Mayo said.

Some marchers say they're defending science against various attacks, including proposed budget cuts by President Donald Trump.

Scheduled speakers at the rally included former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, who has been sharply critical of Trump's efforts to unravel former President Barack Obama's plan to curb global warming.

At the same time, a group of Cambridge residents rallied in Kendall Square to support the march for Science and to call for continued diversity in the nation's science workforce.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Karyn Regal reports


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