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Postdoc creates “resistor hats” for March for Science

Heidi Arjes, third from right, has created knit hat designs for the March for Science featuring a double helix, lab glassware and circuits, among others (Courtesy of Linda A. Cicero/Stanford News).

Stanford postdoctoral fellow Heidi Arjes has created a “resistor hat” to celebrate Earth Day in this year’s San Francisco March for Science. Hailing from the bioengineering department and KC Huang Lab, Arjes drew the inspiration for the hats from the popular “pussy hats” people donned during the Women’s March earlier this year.

The “resistor hat” is a beanie that features a circuit diagram design, complete with a working battery and three resistors. Arjes has also designed other hats embodying different science subjects like chemistry, physics and computer science. Each hat displays a specific design, such as neurons or natural organisms, to represent its field.

“I wanted something that, on its own, could be a really good science hat that represents physics and engineering,” Arjes explained to Stanford News. “I also really like the double-entendre with the resistor. It’s a nice, subtle message.”

The San Francisco March for Science, which will take place on April 22, is one of 429 satellite marches around the globe that aim to “[celebrate] public discovery, understanding, and distribution of scientific knowledge as crucial to the freedom, success, health, and safety of life on this planet,” according to its website. The organizers include over 30 scientists, nonprofit workers and students from around the Bay Area who came together as a nonpartisan steering committee earlier this year. After a rally and march in San Francisco, the event will end with a science fair.

For Arjes, who picked up knitting 14 years ago, the hats provide a tool to defend and celebrate the importance of science in response to defunding threats under the new presidential administration.

“Recent events have shown scientists that we need to stand up, be more vocal and do more outreach so that people learn about science,” Arjes said. “We want to make science accessible, so people aren’t afraid of it and so they realize how valuable it is for everyday life.”

National organizers of March for Science echoed this sentiment, describing the science march movement as “explicitly … political” in holding leaders accountable for policies that respect science but non-partisan in that this accountability extends across party lines.

Arjes began knitting science-themed hats to celebrate the work of her colleagues, and has created designs of birds, a heartbeat EKG and a double helix to represent various fields. Arjes uses the website Craftimism to display and sell her designs, each with a description of the work of her colleague who inspired the hat. The products range from headbands declaring “I love science” to hats with elaborate knitted farm scenes.

“I have rarely used my political voice, but the current administration’s disregard for scientific facts is troubling and, quite frankly, very frightening,” Arjes wrote in a Craftimism post.

“Science is not partisan,” she added. “Protecting the world and our people in it is not a partisan issue.”

Along with two other postdoctoral researches, she has also organized Project Thinking Cap, a website that features patterns for those who want to create their own science-themed wear for the March for Science.

The project is also gathering donated hats to hand out at the march along with hats Arjes knitted herself. Meanwhile, the three fellows maintain the March for Science — Official Knitting and Crafting group on Facebook.

 
Contact Arielle Rodriguez at arielle3 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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