The Ithaca Physics Bus is about doing science for fun. It is a mobile exhibition of upcycled appliances--reimagined by kids--that showcase unfamiliar physics phenomena. The mission of the physics bus is to awaken interest and creativity in physics for all ages and walks of life -- especially those underserved by science enrichment. The Physics bus can reach a wide range of people in diverse locations from local neighborhood, urban parks and rural schools, to cross-country destinations. It allows for the audience to have self-directed, empowering, positive experiences with physics. We believe that these types of positive experiences enrich lives and inspire people.
The Physics Bus is excellent for anyone who wants to directly experience physics phenomena and be part of a grassroots organization that is all about having fun with science. We offer many ways to take advantage of, and participate in, this unique venture:
Want to be part of the fun? Be a volunteer: We offer gigs in schools, libraries, parks, fairs, etc...We are always looking for people who are up for volunteering and helping out with an event. Drop us an email and let us know if you are interested in being part of an event, no minimum time commitment and we can quickly train you on site!
Are you very organized? Be part of our organizing board and take on administrative tasks and logistical support.
Like writing or social media? Become our official blogger and social media administrator.
Science Tinkerer? Share your ideas and develop exciting science demonstrations to go on the bus.
Find this a valuable and worthy cause? Support the non-profit Ithaca Physics Bus through your monetary donation. Any amount donated will go towards the operational budget of the bus. You can make it possible for audiences anywhere to experience the fun of the Physics Bus!
There are also many things to do behind that scenes that will make this venture a success. We are always looking for enthusiastic people who want to join in the fun. Please contact us if you would like to be part of the action at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ithaca Physics Factory is a chapter of the Tucson, AZ based Physics Factory, founded in 2004. Its programming depends entirely on the generous support of sponsors and donors. Your contribution is fully tax deductible and will provide the materials, equipment, and volunteer support necessary to maintain the operation and programming of Ithaca's Physics Bus and stimulate the growth of the Ithaca Physics Factory. Click here to donate through Network For Good (please type "Ithaca" in the designation box):DONATE NOW
Throughout his life, Erik has had a great passion for physics, but he always felt that high school and college-level physic curriculums were too competetive, designed to push people out based on grades rather than actually inspiring a love of science. So, Erik pursued a major in Philosophy, making a name for himself as "The Physics Dude" by building scientific exhibits with his own materials on his own time. Later on he received his post-baccalauerate physics certification and became a high school physics teacher before taking on The Physics Factory, a place for kids who, like Erik, love science but can't quite get enough experience from a classroom alone. After moving to Ithaca, Erik carried this dream across the country and gave life to the next installation: The Physics Bus.
Claire is an artist turned scientist who came to Cornell for Visual Studies and got turned on to electronics and hacking (the good kind) while producing interactive installation art. In 2005 she co-founded a nonprofit learning center before spending two years as a K-12 Museum Educator at the Johnson Art Museum. She has taught hands-on science-based afterschool programs and summer programs at GIAC, the Ovid Library, and TCPL. In 2012 Claire co-founded Ithaca Generator Makerspace, where she served as Education Director and had tons of fun dissecting eyeballs with kids, making everything from paper circuits to squishy robbots, and inventing new uses for microcontrollers. Claire is now working towards a teaching degree in Biology. When she's not studying science, Claire can be found spending time reading books with her two kids, electric bike riding, welding, making things explode, and building exhibits for the Physics Bus!
Chris Bell is a 1st grade teacher at Fall Creek Elementary in Ithaca, NY. He got his B.S. in Sociology at Ithaca College and his teaching degree from SUNY Cortland. He spent his first 5 years teaching 1st grade in Sacramento, CA. He then returned to Ithaca and has continued in 1st grade for the last 11 years. In addition to his time in the classroom, Chris has worked with kids in a variety of after school roles: running science enrichment classes, co-facilitating Waste to Widgets on the weekends, organizing the Fall Creek Talent Shows, and developing the Fall Creek School of Rock. He is currently on the steering committee of the Ithaca Physics Bus. Most important to Chris are his wife and two kids.
Eva was drawn to science from early on and followed the path of science and engineering all the way to college and graduate school. However, she also felt that her education was lacking creativity and curiosity in the pursuit of science. Now, as an outreach specialist, she provides kids and teachers with the tools to have fun with science as part of their education, and she absolutely loves it! She is inspired by passionate people and passionate grassroots projects, leading her to the Ithaca Physics Bus. She enjoys helping with anything the Bus needs in terms of logistics and administrative support and hopes to finally get her hands into exhibition making soon. Eva enjoys reusing old scrap material, finding freebies on Craigslist that she can repurpose, talking anything Dominican (where she was born and raised), dancing swing, latin music, and laughing about pretty much anything.
Looking for a fun and engaging science experience? Schools, youth programs, community events - anywhere there are curious people, we're happy to roll up in our bus and make people go "wow!" and "that's amazing!"
With self-guided exploration of our two dozen exhibits on board the bus and additional physics demos outside, we can engage 24 - 40 participants at a time for an average visit of up to 45min per group. You can also opt for shorter 15 minute visits, or integrate the bus into a larger event with visitors coming and going at their own pace. Visits can be as short as mentioned above or as long as an 8hr day.
The Physics Bus is most often requested by 3-5th grade classrooms, but we have had everyone including toddlers, college students, and retirees love their experience aboard our science-mobile :-)
Let us know that you're interested, and we'll get in touch to discuss the details!REQUEST A VISIT
* It is our policy to visit any school or youth institution that requests us, regardless of their ability to pay our standard fee. We have a suggested donation of US$300 for a 4hr visit or US$500 for a full day. Please don't hesitate to get in touch with us even if you have a tight budget. We are committed to reaching under-served populations.