Editor's note

This Earth Day weekend, demonstrators are gathering around the country to show their support for science and evidence-based policies. Some potential marchers debated whether advocating for research and its funding would position science as just another interest group, making it even more of a partisan issue. But does it? Emily Vraga describes research suggesting scientists can make recommendations without compromising their credibility. And University of Washington’s Leah Ceccarelli writes that the art of rhetoric can help scientists get their messages across effectively.

And since Earth Day can be an occasion for both pessimism and optimism, we offer two takes on the state of the planet: a look at an emerging class of water pollutants, and a call for a moon-shot-style campaign to restore soil health worldwide.

The first round of the French presidential election happens Sunday. Joshua Cole of the University of Michigan offer a quick explanation on how the French electoral system works while Jennifer Sessions listens for echoes of French colonialism in the candidates’ speeches. And for more on a race that is seen as being pivotal not just for France but for all of Europe, check out the latest coverage from Conversations around the world.

Maggie Villiger

Senior Editor, Science + Technology

Top story

What happens to their credibility when scientists take to the streets? February 2017 Stand Up for Science rally in Boston. Adam Salsman

Can March for Science participants advocate without losing the public's trust?

Emily Vraga, George Mason University

The research community tends to assume advocacy doesn't mix with objectivity. One study suggests there's room for scientists to make real-world recommendations without compromising their trusted status.

Saturn and its rings backlit by the sun, which is blocked by the planet in this view. Encircling the planet and inner rings is the much more extended E-ring. NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Water, weather, new worlds: Cassini mission revealed Saturn's secrets

Dan Reisenfeld, The University of Montana

As the probe starts its 'Grand Finale,' a Cassini team member describes the amazing discoveries it made about the ringed planet and its many moons.

Politics + Society

Science + Technology

  • Defending science: How the art of rhetoric can help

    Leah Ceccarelli, University of Washington

    If you've only ever paired the idea of 'rhetoric' with 'empty,' think again. Rhetoricians of science have concrete techniques to share with researchers to help them communicate their scientific work.

Arts + Culture

  • Ella Fitzgerald's flirtation with reefer songs

    Adam Gustafson, Pennsylvania State University

    Just as Fitzgerald's career was taking off, jazz was under attack for its purported connection to drug culture. If she wanted to become a mainstream superstar, she needed to make a choice.

  • What's behind TV bingeing's bad rap?

    Elizabeth Cohen, West Virginia University

    Don't listen to the headlines linking binge watching to depression and loneliness. It can be a positive experience – but only if we think of it as a good thing.

Economy + Business


  • US business schools failing on climate change

    Nancy E. Landrum, Loyola University Chicago

    Though business and industry are significantly contributing to climate change, business schools across the country are not preparing our future leaders for the dramatic shift this planet needs.

  • The myth of the college dropout

    Jonathan Wai, Duke University; Heiner Rindermann, Chemnitz University of Technology

    While the media glamorizes famous college dropouts like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, the reality is that most successful people in the U.S. went to – and finished – college.

Environment + Energy

Ethics + Religion

Health + Medicine

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