Later this month, on Earth Day, 22 April, people around the world will celebrate science and affirm its importance to society through a series of marches and gatherings in at least 10 countries. One of those marches is taking place in Geneva, a city with a proud scientific tradition stretching back to long before CERN set up shop here in the 1950s. Today, CERN is an integral part of scientific Geneva, and although the Laboratory is not a formal organiser of the march, I imagine that many CERNois and CERNoises will be there.
CERN works hard to promote scientific values, along with the great progress in human societies that science enables, and the importance of evidence-based decision making in all walks of life. Science underpins modern society, and that’s something that’s certainly worth celebrating and upholding for all to see.
Science stems from curiosity, a defining feature of all humanity. Curiosity spurs us to explore the neighbourhood around us, the world we share with such a dazzling profusion of life, and indeed this great wonderful universe we call home. Curiosity is not the province of any race, gender or political doctrine: it’s common to all of us, and so it’s fitting that it should be celebrated around the world.
CERN has a particularly important place in global science. The Organization is founded on principles of openness and free exchange of people and ideas. Cross-border collaboration is part of our raison d’être, and we embrace the diversity of our 100-nationality-strong user community. CERN is a shining example of what humanity can achieve when we put aside our differences, whether political, religious or other, and focus on the common good.
According to its mission statement, the march for science champions robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity. It aims to bring together a diverse, non-partisan group to call for science that upholds the common good. So if you are going on the march, take pride in science and uphold the values of apolitical inclusiveness that CERN stands for. But most of all, enjoy yourself, as you will be celebrating the scientific method, the greatest force for good ever to be born of human minds.