Renewable Matter # 15 / March-April

Science in the Trenches

by Federico Pedrocchi

Since Renewable Matter is a magazine strongly characterized by scientific and technological themes, I thought that my recent experience in the United States could be useful to gain a certain perspective on what is happening in the few months following Trump’s election. I took part in the AAAS annual meeting – American Association for the Advancement of Science. I participate quite regularly. This year the meeting took place in Boston, where the presence of scientific research is noticeable even in bakeries. But the AAAS meeting is an event that goes beyond its location. It involves about a hundred daily seminars, bringing together thousands of men and women working in science, with 70% coming from the States and 30% from all over the world. I know very well the atmosphere of this event, which was very different to that I experienced last February.

We can start by describing some anecdotes. The researcher of Chinese or Japanese descent that before her speech, with her thumb and middle finger of both hands tries to open up her eyes to look truly American, followed by a round of applause and laughter. Indian physicists saying, “I am glad to be here at this 2017 meeting because I don’t know whether next year I’ll be able to...

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