After a year in which scientific breakthroughs are helping countries return to a sense of normality, a new pledge offers the general public a path to draw attention to the importance of scientific literacy.
The Trust Science pledge, a worldwide campaign to promote support for the scientific process and acknowledge the many benefits of science for society is a first step to recognizing the vital role science plays in improving quality of life and combatting scientific misinformation.
Scientific literacy, or the understanding of science, its methodology, observations and theories, starts with appreciating the wonder and advancements of science. One current example is the progress made with vaccines, but the past year has seen many other scientific developments, specifically in light science. These include advances in high-speed communications enabling families to stay connected through videoconferencing, faster access to online media content and breakthroughs in astronomy and planetary exploration such as NASA’s Perseverance Rover landing on Mars in February.
With the rise of disinformation, declaring support for the scientific process provides a concrete way to stand up for science and the benefits it brings to society.
The pledge, launched in celebration of the UNESCO International Day of Light on 16 May, aims to promote support for the scientific process and to acknowledge the many benefits of science for society. Nobel and Breakthrough laureates, scientific leaders, CEOs and everyday citizens worldwide have signed the pledge, taking a significant step in building scientific literacy and trust in the scientific method.
“We all share responsibility for seeking out trustworthy scientific information,” said Dr. Jess Wade, a physicist working in the Department of Materials at Imperial College London. “Before sharing information about a scientific claim, we can check the source of claims, research the credibility of the author and double-check the facts with fact-checking organizations.”
The pledge complements other strategies for identifying fact from fiction.
A first step in achieving scientific literacy is the careful questioning of any statement that is positioned as a scientific fact. Below are three ways the general public can check the validity of something they may have read, heard or seen online as a fact:
1. Embrace initial skepticism and check the source of the claims.
2. Watch out for rhetoric. A credible author will cite facts and sources and the results of scientific research rather than “science” itself.
3. Double-check the facts with fact-checking organizations.
The Trust Science campaign is organized by the IEEE Photonics Society, SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, and The Optical Society (OSA), together with the International Day of Light Steering Committee.
To sign the pledge and to learn more, please go to https://www.trust-science.org
For questions about how you can engage with the campaign, please contact: email@example.com
For media inquiries, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Social media: please share using #TrustScience and #LightDay2021
About the International Day of Light
The International Day of Light (IDL) is a worldwide initiative that provides an annual focal point for the continued appreciation of light and the role it plays in science, culture and art, education and sustainable development, and in fields as diverse as medicine, communications and energy. The International Day of Light is administered from the International Basic Science Programme (IBSP) of UNESCO by a Steering Committee that includes representatives from a broad range of international partners: the American Institute of Physics (AIP), the American Physical Society (APS), Bosca, the China International Optoelectronic Exhibition (CIOE), Chinese Optical Society (COS), the European Centres for Outreach in Photonics (ECOP), the European Photonics Industry Consortium (EPIC), the European Physical Society (EPS), the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), the IEEE Photonics Society (IPS), the International Commission on Illumination (CIE), lightsources.org - the international network of accelerator based light sources, Light: Science and Applications, The Optical Society (OSA), Tampere University, SPIE, the International Society for Optics and Photonics, SESAME, Signify, Tampere University, Thorlabs, Transitions, the Université de Franche-Comté and Velux.
For information about the International Day of Light, please visit www.lightday.org
Contacts for IDL:
John Dudley and Joseph Niemela
2021 Steering Committee Chairs
2021 Communications Coordinator
Media Contact for Trust Science:
About IEEE Photonics Society
The IEEE Photonics Society is the professional home for a global network of scientists, engineers and allied professionals who advance laser, optoelectronics, and photonics technology. As a technical society representing the IEEE, it is a vital part of the world’s largest technical professional organization of more than 400,000 members dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. Through its highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, educational activities, and humanitarian initiatives, the IEEE Photonics Society provides its members in more than 160 countries the opportunity to grow professionally and stay on the forefront of transformational breakthroughs in photonics. PhotonicsSociety.org
SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, was founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. Serving more than 255,000 constituents from 183 countries, the not-for-profit society advances emerging technologies through interdisciplinary information exchange, continuing education, publications, patent precedent, and career and professional growth. SPIE annually organizes and sponsors approximately 25 major technical forums, exhibitions, and education programs in North America, Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific. In 2020, SPIE provided more than $5 million in support of education and outreach programs. www.spie.org
About The Optical Society
Founded in 1916, The Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional organization for scientists, engineers, students and business leaders in light science and technology. The society serves over 432,000 customers and 22,000 members from more than 100 countries who fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate achievements in the field. OSA provides quality research, inspired interactions and dedicated resources for its extensive global network of optics and photonics experts through world-renowned publications. For more information, visit osa.org.