VisaThe American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is calling on U.S. President Donald Trump to work with the world’s largest scientific organization to ensure the free flow of scientific talent from around the world.

The latest response from AAAS comes just after President Trump’s executive order limiting immigration and travel from seven countries in the Middle East. AAAS’s CEO, Rush Holt, issued a statement emphasizing the need to keep U.S. borders open to scientists and students from around the world.

“Scientific progress depends on openness, transparency, and the free flow of ideas. The United States has always attracted and benefited from international scientific talent because of these principles,” Holt said in the release. “We know that fostering safe and responsible conduct of research is essential for scientific advancement, national prosperity, and international security. Therefore, the detaining of students and scientists that have already been screened, processed, and approved to receive a visa to visit the United States is contrary to the spirit of science to pursue scholarly and professional interests. In order for science and the economy to prosper, students and scientists must be free to study and work with colleagues in other countries.”


While not the only source of science, government funded research plays a huge role in the lives of many individuals. From something as simple as the weather apps underpinned by the National Weather Service to the Food and Drug Administration’s work on preventing Salmonella, this tax-payer funded research shapes lives and helps provide knowledge to make crucial decisions.

On January 23, word came from the White House that almost all U.S. scientific government agencies had been temporarily barred from communicating with the public via press releases, blogs, and social media.

It’s not currently clear how extensive the gag order is – with some reports saying that explanations of just published peer reviewed research are barred, while others citing a much more lenient scenario – but it is confirmed that almost all agencies, from the U.S. Department of Interior to the Department of Health and Human Services, received a memo restricting – to some degree – outreach to the public.

Even after the gag order was put in place, federal agencies such as the Badlands National Park continued tweeting on its official account with a stream of facts pertaining to climate change. The tweets have since been deleted, though the park did address the president in a letter on Huffington Post.


STEMA new initiative that goes by the name, STEM the Divide, is looking to bring scientists out of the lab and into public office.

STEM the Divide is founded by the nonprofit 314 Action group (homage to Pi), which is focused on building a community for those in STEM and bridging the gap between scientists and public policy. The group’s main goals include: strengthening communications between the scientific community and public officials, providing a voice for the STEM community on social issues, and increasing STEM engagement in the media.

As a branch of 314 Action, STEM the Divide is dedicated to electing more STEM-educated leaders to the U.S. Senate, House, State Executive, and Legislative offices.

“There’s nothing in our Constitution that says we can only be governed by attorneys,” Shaughnessy Naughton, founder of STEM the Divide, tells The Washington Post. “Especially now, we need people with scientific backgrounds that are used to looking at the facts and forming an opinion based on the facts.”


In a push for more basic research funding for electrochemical science, past ECS President Daniel Scherson testified before a U.S. House subcommittee to discuss innovations in solar fuels, electricity storage, and advanced materials.

“I want them to understand where electrochemistry fits in many aspects of our lives,” Scherson, the Frank Hovorka Professor of Chemistry at Case Western Reserve University, said prior to the hearing.

During the hearing, Scherson emphasized to the subcommittee that in order to solve some of society’s most pressing problems, more federal funding to basic electrochemistry research is critical. He further explained that without efforts in electrochemistry, nearly all aspects of energy storage and conversion – including batteries, fuels cells, EVs, and wind and solar energy – would cease to be viable.

“Electrochemistry is a two century old discipline that has reemerged in recent years as a key to achieve sustainability and improve human welfare,” Scherson told the subcommittee.

In recent years, budget cuts in federal spending have adversely affected scientific research. In April of this year, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) launched an attack on federal research dollars in the form of the Wastebook – a report detailing specific studies that the senator believes to be wasteful spending.