The international “March for Science” will take place on April 22nd, 2017. Demonstrations are currently planned in more than 400 cities worldwide in order to raise public awareness of the value of science as an important part of democracy and social progress. This year’s event was inspired by the tendency in modern society for individuals to view scientific discoveries with skepticism and to express open hatred and even make threats towards scientists in matters ranging from evolution, the big bang, or drug design. “Alternative facts” and “perceived truths” have become a legitimate alternative to hard-fact science for many. Executive orders that limit scientists’ freedom to travel and collaborate worldwide represent yet another threat to science and the scientific community. As a result of these trends, countless individuals – scientists and non-scientists alike – are joining in the “March for Science” to defend empirical science as the foundation of democratic discourse. In Germany alone, demonstrations are planned in fifteen cities, including Heidelberg, where scientists from HITS will also participate. “The freedom of science is embodied in the German constitution; to defend it is our duty. Therefore, we approve our employees’ use of their voices in joining the ‘March for Science,’” said HITS Scientific Director HITS, Prof. Michael Strube, who will also appear as a speaker at the “March for Science” in Heidelberg.
HITS is now enlisted as a supporter on the German webpage of the “March for Science” initiative. Other supporters can be found here.
The Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS) was established in 2010 by the physicist and SAP co-founder Klaus Tschira (1940-2015) and the Klaus Tschira Foundation as a private, non-profit research institute. HITS conducts basic research in the natural sciences, mathematics and computer science, with a focus on the processing, structuring, and analyzing of large amounts of complex data and the development of computational methods and software. The research fields range from molecular biology to astrophysics. The shareholders of HITS are the HITS-Stiftung, which is a subsidiary of the Klaus Tschira Foundation, Heidelberg University and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). HITS also cooperates with other universities and research institutes and with industrial partners. The base funding of HITS is provided by the HITS Stiftung with funds received from the Klaus Tschira Foundation. The primary external funding agencies are the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the German Research Foundation (DFG), and the European Union.