Getting braiNY on the BioBus

This past Saturday a quirky, repurposed 1970’s transit bus was parked at Washington Square Park. If it weren’t for the calls of “come touch a real human brain” or “we’ve got microscopes,” I would have thought that it was Miss Frizzle and the Magic School Bus. In reality it was the BioBus. This is the third straight year the BioBus has been a part of braiNY, New York City’s collaborative celebration of Brain Awareness Week.

BioBus parked near Washington Square Park in New York City

BioBus parked near Washington Square Park in New York City

The real human brain inspired a full spectrum of reactions from people walking by, from amazement to unease. Volunteers from NYU, Columbia University, and Mount Sinai set up a table with brain samples and Dana publications outside the bus to draw people in. On the bus there were presentations and microscopes displaying mouse brains and brain tissue samples from an Alzheimer’s patient. It was an exciting Saturday of free, fascinating neuroscience!

(Left) Inside the BioBus (Right) Volunteers showing brain samples to passersby

(Left) Inside the BioBus (Right) Volunteers showing brain samples to passersby

Two braiNY volunteers showing off some brains outside of the BioBus

Two braiNY volunteers showing off some brains outside of the BioBus.

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 keep it cool in summer, and a pellet burning stove to keep the bus warm on colder days like this Sunday. Make sure to check out their website for more information.

-Simon Fischweicher

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