Buses get a stellar makeover for science

Dr Lily Asquith

Two of Brighton’s number 25 buses will be decked out with science for a year. The project, which is the first of its kind and launches on 13 September 2017, is organised by Dr Lily Asquith, a physicist at the University of Sussex.

Passengers will step off the street and into a world of physics with fantastic illustrations of the wonders of the universe. Dr Asquith and her team will lead science tours covering the biggest questions known to humankind. The buses will be fitted with tablets which will allow passengers to directly quiz leading physicists at the University of Sussex on all things physics.

One bus will have an astrophysics theme and the other will have a particle physics theme, and they will be decorated inside and out.

As well as Dr Asquith herself, other local researchers and academics from the University of Sussex will lead the twice-monthly science tours of the buses for passengers, school groups and others. They will share the greatest breakthroughs in astrophysics and particle physics and discuss the current problems that the bright minds at the University are working to crack.

Dr Asquith says:

“Science belongs to the people. We’ve designed the illustrations so that even young children can share in the wonder of physics. My hope is that the Science on the Buses project will help non-scientists to feel connected to science and to understand a bit more about the fascinating research happening at the University of Sussex. This project should add a little bit of stardust to the daily bus commute.”

Dr Asquith, who lives in Brighton, had the idea when she was sitting on a no. 25 bus thinking how routine her commute had become. She applied for a grant from the Science and Technology Facilities Council and won the £38,000 Large Award for Public Engagement, which can be used to help build a network of engaged people.

Passengers will be invited to submit video and written questions for the scientists via the tablets. At the end of the year, the people who posed the best questions will win the tablets. They will be free to use the #ScienceOnBuses hashtag to share comments, selfies and videos of their experience on the buses.

Dr Asquith is an expert in particle physics and works between the University of Sussex and CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, in Switzerland. She is a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow. 

Dr Asquith continued:

“I’m grateful to the University of Sussex for their support with this project and also to Brighton and Hove Buses for letting the scientists take over two of their buses for a year!”

The buses will run to their normal timetable.


By: Anna Ford
Last updated: Thursday, 31 August 2017

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