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UW scientists join KW March For Science

Saturday, April 22, 2017

KW March For Science banner

On Earth Day, thousands of scientists and supporters around the world gathered for the March For Science. Many Waterloo Science students, faculty, staff and administrators participated in the KW March For Science in Uptown Waterloo.

The event kicked off in Waterloo Town Square with remarks from Dr. Neil Arya, Dean of Science Bob Lemieux, Grad student Cheryl Chan, Chemistry Prof. Jonathan Baugh and Canada Research Chair Debbie Leung.

Lemieux is also a Professor in the Department of Chemistry and studies liquid crystals. He spoke about the importance of chance discoveries and how they can lead to unexpected applications and surprising insights. 

Dean of Science Bob Lemieux speaks to a crowd.

Lemieux spoke about the Austrian botanist Friedrich Richard Reinitzer. Reinitzer was trying to figure out the structure of cholesterol but discovered a liquid with properties of a crystal. This eureka moment was the discovery of liquid crystals - the basic substance used in smartphones, LCD displays and flat screen TVs.

This is just one example of the power that can happen when curiosity, preparedness and open-mindedness combine. Science needs this curiosity-driven, fundamental research as this is where ground-breaking, game-changing discoveries are born.

Profs. Debbie Leung (Math) and Jonathan Baugh (Chemistry) echoed Lemieux's passion for curiosity-based research. They highlighted how science for the sake of understanding how the world works is valuable and that pure science developed 100 years ago is leading to transformative technologies today - like quantum information.

Debbie Leung looks on as Jonathan Baugh speaks

Numerous Waterloo Science professors from the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Physics and Astronomy as well as several students attended the speeches and participated in the march.

Biology Prof. Josh Neufeld and graduate students Emilie Spasov and Ashley Ross were excited to get involved. Chemistry professors Graham Murphy and Derek Schipper are in the background.

Biology student Steven Ten Holder is cheering his support for science. Ten Holder was part of Waterloo's winning iGEM team and is a co-founder of Acorn Cryotech.

Biology Prof. Trevor Charles, Continuing Lecturer Barb Butler and master's student Emilie Spasov also showed their support.

Participants walking in KW March For Science

Astrophysicist Mike Hudson (below) is leading the march through uptown Waterloo.

Crowds chanted "What do we want? Evidence based Science! When do we want it? After peer review! The hashtags #ScienceNotSilence, #MarchforScience and #ScienceMarch were trending on social media.

"A world without science is a world without knowledge, is a world without a future," Lemieux told CTV News Kitchener.

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