Brain Awareness Week: BioBus

Back by popular demand, the BioBus kicked off the second annual braiNY, New York City’s collaborative celebration of Brain Awareness Week. It was a beautiful day in the city and the braiNY volunteers drew a steady crowd of passersby on to the BioBus with promises of “real human brains!”

Volunteer shows a human brain to passersby at the BioBus in NYC

Volunteer shows a human brain to passersby at the BioBus in NYC

The brains were just the tip of the iceberg. Our partners at Columbia and NYU provided the bus with some of their own neuroscience research, brain tissue slides, worm skeletons, mouse brains, and hourly presentations. Outside the bus, tables were set up with Dana publications, brain samples, and demonstrations. I tried out the prism goggle experiment—let’s just say I am much better at tossing and picking up a bean bag without prism goggles on.

BioBus parked near Washington Square Park

BioBus parked near Washington Square Park

The BioBus is a creative way to bring science to the public. As a high-tech science laboratory on wheels, it brings the lab to the street. The 1970s fishbowl bus travels to schools, museums, summer camps, festivals, and after-school programs in New York and the rest of the country. Not only does the bus hold research-grade equipment, but it is carbon-neutral. It runs on biofuel, is powered by solar panels and a wind turbine, has a live green roof with plants and local grasses that keeps it cool in summer and a pellet burning stove to keep the bus warm on colder days like this Sunday.

Free Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives publications being distributed at the BioBus

Free Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives publications being distributed at the BioBus

If you missed the BioBus, you’ll have another opportunity to engage in similar hands-on science activities in NYC at the related BioBase on March 14, from 3:00-7:00pm. Additionally, there will be some cool science videos and a panel of undergraduate-level neuroscience students who will talk about college and how to get involved in science after high school.

There are many more Brain Awareness Week events going on this week in New York City and around the world. Be sure to take advantage of the many free programs by looking for activities in your area.

–Simon Fischweicher

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