This post is contributed by Matt Fleury, President & Chief Executive Officer of the Connecticut Science Center.
Over the past several months, we have seen an historic public health crisis catapult us into a time of social and economic pain. This reminds us that life as we know it depends fundamentally on our ability to protect our health and that of our world. When conditions outpace our science and our ability to act on science, the guardrails that steady us crumble, and so do the routines we cherish.
At the Connecticut Science Center and among our fellow institutions far and wide, our mission has us thinking with a deep sense of urgency about the future of the individuals and communities we serve. All of us who have gravitated to this work know how this crisis highlights the need for a science-literate society to invest in disease prevention and cures. We watch narrative and policy unfold with an all-too knowing observation that every prognosticator puts effective treatments and a vaccine at the center of a full return to economic and lifestyle normalcy. No matter how they express it, what they need is, in a word, science.
The children and grandchildren of those most at risk from COVID-19 are the innovators who are at work now to find the answers, and the generations to follow will not be far behind. This underscores the deep need to inspire a culture of respect, enthusiasm and support for science and those who use it for the benefit of everyone. Today’s healthcare professionals and all those around them are the poignant example of the moment.
Like science educators everywhere, our team at the Connecticut Science Center has been both distressed and motivated by these events. As the depth of this crisis settled around us, several members of our exhibitions team were inspired to join the panoply of visual tributes to those health care professionals who are using science to protect and treat the Coronavirus-afflicted. They created a stunning giant heart and mounted and illuminated it in a dramatic river overlook feature of the Science Center, which occupies a central position on the Hartford skyline. This image expresses so much about what science means to our world, and what our institution stands for. It captivated people when we posted it online, and inspired us to find a way to express its message more broadly. This organic evolution of an act of caring led us to create a very unique campaign for science, featuring the glowing heart and striking video and still photography. We call this campaign “Love Science”. We are deploying it across various broadcast, print and social media channels to advocate for what we all champion every day: a science-aware, science-informed society.
For the 10 years since the Connecticut Science Center opened, and for the decades to come, the cause of science has been and will be at the center of our mission. In our field, we live to bring joy and excitement to science in the popular setting that we hope soon to re-open. Our message must resonate now more than ever, and even when the doors are closed: Science will find the answers. Science will be with us, and it is here to help when we put it to work and follow what it tells us. Science is the way forward. Love Science.