Pussy Hat Inspires Protest ‘Resistor Hat’ for Science March

Stanford students wearing knitted hats created for the March for Science, to be held April 22. Designs feature a DNA double helix, lab glassware, a circuit with a battery and three resistors, a space shuttle, wind turbines and others.

Stanford students wearing knitted hats created for the March for Science, to be held April 22. Designs feature a DNA double helix, lab glassware, a circuit with a battery and three resistors, a space shuttle, wind turbines and others. (L.A. Cicero)

Later this month, scientists will march in San Francisco and across the country to protest the Trump administration’s rejection of scientific facts and data.

The event may be marked by a unifying splash of color similar to the hot pink pussy hats worn at the Women’s March in January.

A Bay Area researcher, and avid knitter, has designed a turquoise resistor hat for scientists, and made the pattern free online.

Heidi Arjes,  a microbiologist at Stanford University, never cared about politics until recently. “I’ve been very complicit to just come into lab, work really long hours and collect as much as data as I can, she says.”

Microbiologist Heidi Arjes in a lab at Stanford University wearing her turquoise resistor hat.
Microbiologist Heidi Arjes in a lab at Stanford University wearing her turquoise resistor hat. (Andres Aranda Diaz)

Arjes remembers when things changed. She was on the phone with her parents, who live in rural Iowa, about a week after the election. She complained to her mom about the state of the country and her grievances fell on deaf ears.

“She told me, ‘You can’t change the world Heidi.’ That riled me up,” says Arjes. “I answered, ‘Well I can’t if I don’t try, Mom.’”

Arjes picked up her knitting needles and turned her longtime hobby into a political act. Her latest creation is the double entendre resistor hat. It’s a bright turquoise and white beanie with a simple circuit diagram depicting a battery and three resistors.

In an electrical circuit, a resistor applies, you guessed it, resistance. On Arjes’ hat, the resistors are strategically lined up in a row because, set up this way, they would slow down the electrical current in a real circuit. Arjes hopes pressure from protesters will slow down funding cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).


“People are painting science in a bad light and trying to ignore facts!” exclaims Arjes. “And, that’s just really painful.”

Arjes has posted her patterns online along with her other designs featuring a double helix, a space shuttle and wind turbines. She hopes marchers will come out in droves wearing knitted caps in a few weeks at the San Francisco march on April 22, Earth Day. Arjes  will also be passing out fabric headband versions at the event.

The San Francisco march is one of more than 400 satellite marches inspired by the main March for Science in Washington, D.C.

Pussy Hat Inspires Protest ‘Resistor Hat’ for Science March 5 April,2017Lesley McClurg

Author

Lesley McClurg

Lesley is a radio reporter covering medicine, space and environment for KQED Science. Her work has appeared on Marketplace, Latino USA, and NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Previously, she covered food and sustainability for Capital Public Radio in Sacramento. She began her media career at KCTS Television in Seattle. You can find her on Twitter at @lesleywmcclurg.

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