Pussy Hats Making Way For Resistor Beanies In Science March

A Stanford microbiologist picks up her knitting needles to make a powerful point.

Vivid pink, magenta, rouge, even purple “pussy hats” were a huge hit at the massive Women’s March on Washington in January. Now scientists are designing their own brand of “resistor” beanies for the upcoming March for Science on Earth Day.

Two friends, screenwriter Krista Suh and architect Jayna Zweiman, designed a “pussy power hat” pattern that was so simple, any amateur knitter could make it for themselves or other marchers.

San Francisco Bay Area researcher and knitter Heidi Arjes has followed that up with designs for a turquoise resistor hat for scientists, and she’s posted the pattern for free online.

The Stanford University microbiologist said she had never cared much about politics. That changed, Arjes told KQED, when she was complaining about the 2016 presidential election to her mom, who said to her, “You can’t change the world, Heidi.”

Now she’s trying to do just that, one hat at a time.

Microbiologist Heidi Arjes shows off a resistor hat in her Stanford University lab.
Microbiologist Heidi Arjes shows off a resistor hat in her Stanford University lab.
Craftimism/Heidi Arjes

Arjes’ hats feature a circuit design pattern of battery and three resistors. Resistors slow down electrical current in an actual circuit ― and she’s hoping the upcoming marches will help slow down federal cuts for the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institutes of Health and funding for other scientific research, Arjes told KQED this week.

“I wanted something that, on its own, could be a really good science hat that represents physics and engineering,” Arjes told The Stanford Daily. “I also really like the double-entendre with the resistor.”

The knitting pattern for the hat is available online at Craftimism. Arjes has also come up with patterns for double helix, wind turbine and space shuttle hats. And groups can design their own hats with help from the website Project Thinking Cap, a collaborative project started by scientists Crystal Lantz and Lauren Drogos. Hats should be blue and green to honor the earth, Arjes said.

She’s hoping her hats will make their mark, particularly at her home Earth Day rally on April 22 in San Francisco ― one of more than 425 satellite rallies, with the main march in Washington, D.C.

“The current administration’s disregard for scientific facts is troubling and, quite frankly, very frightening,” Arjes notes on the site.

“Scientists need to stand up and demand evidence-based policy and facts. Science is not partisan. Protecting our world and the people in it is not a partisan issue. This is why I will march.”

This article has been updated with additional information on the Project Thinking Cap website.

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