Miriam Harte is a scientist, educator and co-chair of March for Science, Ireland.
I’m marching because science helps define me and the world around me. Science helps us to tell stories, share secrets and enhance our lives. For some, there’s religion. For me, there’s science. When confronted with a new situation, I don’t usually panic. Instead, I assess what’s happening by asking questions, making observations and estimating the likely outcome of this event. It sounds very methodical and almost robotic in thinking (!), but it works for me. In other words, The Scientific Method works for me. Taking in facts or evidence and drawing conclusions is something we do from the day we’re born. It’s how we learn. It’s how we avoid repeating mistakes. It’s how we survive.
As a scientist, I’ve been lucky enough to experience countless awe-inspiring moments of humankind’s scientific knowledge of the world around us. Scientific discovery has improved our lives, our future, our intelligence and our chances of longevity within this incredible universe. As a science communicator, I have the honour (no other word will do) of sharing my scientific knowledge with others and giving them the power to make educated decisions about their health, about their ethical stance and about their part in scientific research. Without this sort of dialogue, can we really grow as humans? Civilisation has relied on sharing new ideas and pushing our intellectual boundaries for millennia. When this conversation is jeopardised by frightful limitations, so too is our progression as people. This progression lies within the possibilities which scientific research can offer to us and future generations.
Truth be told, all of this scientific knowledge may never even reveal to us the true meaning of why we are here. Some may call it frustrating or indeed a cop-out, but I think that’s part of the beauty of science. We’ll never fully know all of the answers and sometimes our answers will have to change, with new evidence that comes our way. Life is full of uncertainty – Often terrifyingly so. If science can offer some level of certainty within this abyss then my cards are, and always will be, on science.