April 22nd is Earth Day, but this year it will also be the date of the March for Science. The flagship march will take place in Washington D.C., but sister marches are happening around the globe, including at least five in Utah.
Professor Helga Van Miegroet is attending one of these marches and stopped by the studios of Utah Public Radio to show off a special, brain hat she's knitting for the occasion (seen above). She described her motivation to knit the hat this way:
“There’s the expression that says you carry your heart on the outside. I said, I want to carry my brain on the outside.”
Van Miegroet is a scientist twice over, simultaneously a professor in the College of Natural Resources and a graduate student in sociology, both at Utah State University. But Van Miegroet is not marching for science because she feels that she’s owed any special deference on account of her credentials.
“I really think that we need to get out of that box of just saying, “well, we know better.” And, it’s rewarding to see that now in the sciences we are embracing the fact that it’s not enough to collect data; to do good science, but also to reach out to the community and step out of that ivory tower and just say “this is why you should care; this is why it’s important; this is how I’m making a contribution.""
Van Miegroet fears that a kind of anti-intellectualism is gaining traction in the United States, and will be marching this weekend to celebrate the contributions of science and scientists.
“President Trump talks about making America great. Well, science is what makes America great. It’s those innovations. It’s that thinking outside the box. It’s that serendipity of creating new applications for science that was done for a totally different reason.”