More than a thousand people—both from across Caltech and from various surrounding communities—gathered on Beckman Lawn on Saturday, April 22 before marching together through Pasadena in celebration of science.
The event—one of many such marches taking place across the country—was organized by the Caltech Postdoctoral Association to allow individuals to gather in recognition of the value and impact of science to their lives.
"We want to celebrate the tight ties between science and the local community," said Jason Marshall, co-chair of the Caltech Postdoctoral Association, moments before the crowd began its march to Pasadena's Memorial Park. "Scientists at the many local institutions in the San Gabriel Valley perform the work that has a direct impact on the community. Science creates jobs and is an engine for growth; it inspires young minds, saves lives, and, most importantly in my opinion, it makes our society a better place. The positive impacts don't happen without people celebrating and advocating for the role of science in our society."
In addition to Marshall, the Caltech portion of the event featured speeches from Caltech professors Mary Kennedy and Michael Roukes, U.S. congresswoman Judy Chu, California state assemblymember Chris Holden, and Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) board member Scott Phelps (MS '89). Pasadena mayor Terry Tornek, Caltech professor Jonas Peters, Caltech staff member and PUSD school board member Patrick Cahalan, and Califonia state senator Anthony Portantino were among the speakers who welcomed the crowd when they arrived at the end of the march route.
"Science is really baked into the culture of this city," Tornek said. "Science, after all, promotes the search for objective truth, and in a contentious world with lots of divergent points of view, we desperately need that truth. So, we welcome you here today. We congratulate you all on your efforts to promote science as an important contributor to public policy, policy debates—and commit to you that your efforts will be always welcome in Pasadena, city of science."