Four physicists from DCU were chosen to captain a bus tour around Europe over the summer to make science more accessible to citizens.
The European initiative ‘Doing It Together Science’ was set up in order to show that citizen science is fun and accessible way to explore the world around us.
The Science bus toured Europe during the summer working with research institutes and science galleries which hosted innovative workshops, exhibitions and activities to engage as many people as possible with citizen science.
Two DCU PhD researchers Caire O’Connell and Stephen Davitt led team one on the Science Bus while DCU graduates Philip Smyth and Aoibheann Bird led team two. Each team presented workshops in multiple locations over a period of three weeks after it officially launched in Amsterdam on July 12th.
Seven vacancies were advertised for these positions as captains across Europe and four of these were filled by DCU physicists as well as another Irish scientist Mark Langtry who is a graduate from UCD.
Smyth is currently the head of Public Engagement with Cool Planet Experience as well as being an award-winning science communicator and broadcaster with RTE.
He said, “I still can’t believe that they’re giving us a whole bus! We get to spend nights in museums, rock out at music festivals and meet people from all over Europe. It’s a dream project to work on and for 5 of the 7 captains to be chosen from Ireland shows that we have a wealth of talent available to us here. This is a fantastic platform for us to showcase Ireland and how we science can help in everyone’s daily lives.”
Bird is the Education and Public Engagement Manager for Insight Centre for Data Analytics at UCD and DCU and leads initiatives such as Thesis in Three, Diving into Space and Girls Hack Ireland.
“No one expects you to just turn up with a bus-load of science kit to play with. This innovative approach has the potential to inspire thousands across the EU” commented Bird.