Humanity is
facing great
uncertainty.

A pandemic is taking lives and livelihoods. Climate change threatens to drown cities and disrupt food supplies. Economic growth widens inequalities. These are some of the urgent problems society is wrestling with, where science, guided by our values, is critical to our progress.

Rather than guessing at solutions—especially with so much at stake—we, as a society, need to implement scientific thinking at all scales—from our daily lives, to corporate innovation, to government policymaking.

We as a
society
need to
implement
scientific
thinking at

all
scales.

Scientific
thinking
isn’t just for
scientists.

Scientists may seem to occupy a rarefied world apart, with their PhDs and high-tech equipment and stylish lab coats. But scientific thinking is within everyone’s reach. (And here’s a secret about the lab coats—most scientists don’t wear them.) Textbooks may change as we update our ideas about geology and medicine and physics, but the method used to update them hasn’t changed all that much.

New discoveries nearly all rely on some version of the scientific method. Applying this method and the technological transformation we’re bringing to it will be key to the next breakthroughs.

In simplified form, the scientific method follows a typical series of steps.

More broadly, the practice of science is a way of thinking about knowledge. It means asking how we know things. It means coming up with new ideas and making careful observations that can refute or support them, so that we know even more. It means poking at the world to see what happens. It means describing your methods of inquiry in such a way that others can repeat them independently, and communicating outcomes in a way that other scientists can interpret and understand them.

And it means
updating our
knowledge
when the
unexpected
happens.

Thinking scientifically also means being aware of what others have already tried, and discovered. Any given scientific paper might reference hundreds of others, which shows how science constantly builds on what came before. This reliance on and trust in scientific knowledge comes from science’s commitment to transparency in a way that allows any scientist to challenge any idea at any time. Decisions should be informed by data and evidence.

Can we design molecules to speed up chemical reactions that will pull carbon dioxide out of smog?

How will changes in climate affect supply chains?

How does lockdown from COVID‑19 affect credit card deliquency?

We have no choice but to use science. If we want to build a bridge that is strong, or to design a molecule to cure a disease, or to provide sufficient food and sustainable power to live, science is absolutely essential!

Professor W.E. Moerner
Nobel Laureate

Inconsistent decision making is a huge hidden cost for many companies; by consistently leveraging scientific methods noise associated with irrelevant factors can be removed.

Professor Daniel Kahneman
Nobel Laureate

Spaceship Earth, our home planet, is the only one we have. Science and knowledge enable us to accelerate positive change to realize a healthier relationship between people, technology and Earth to assure the sustainability of humanity and all living things on our home planet.

Professor Dava Newman
MIT Astronautics and former NASA Deputy Administrator

Urgent challenges require solutions that withstand the test of scientific method. Partnerships leveraging science in research and development are the driving force to arrive at solutions that benefit us all.

Professor Anthony Boccanfuso
President and CEO of University-Industry Demonstration Partnership (UIDP)

The complexity and scope of the global challenges ahead of us require a holistic, science-based approach that calls for open, inclusive cooperation and dialogue between all stakeholders of our society.

Professor Joel Mesot
President of Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zürich

ICTP stands for science because we believe that it is the common heritage of humanity, a shared language for dialogue and cooperation, transcending the boundaries of geography, economics, gender and ethnicity.

Professor Atish Dabholkar
Director of International Centre for Theoretical Physics

At EPFL we believe that science and technology allow us to understand our world and to contribute to make it better. This is why we stand with science.

Dr. Martin Vetterli
President of École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)

We can't gestalt our way to solutions for the tenacious challenges of this time, whether addressing emerging diseases or transforming our organizations to live out their equity values.

Professor Esther Choo
Founder of Equity Quotient

Science drives our research and scholarship. Now, more than ever, our society and culture depends on the strength of our commitment to practicing and upholding scientific thinking in all we do.

Dr. Nariman Farvardin
President of Stevens Institute of Technology

Science is what pulls the cart of progress of humanity.

Professor Rafael Yuste
Columbia University, Neuroscience

We ask that
you support
the urgency
of science.
Support the urgency of science, as an everyday scientific thinker, as an admirer of those who practice science in the lab or in the field, as an individual who enjoys the benefits of science and would like the progress to continue, and as a fan who gets excited when a new planet or species is discovered. Science is not just for scientists. It’s for everyone.
Share a message in support of scientific thinking and the #urgencyofscience today.
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