Commuters get a DART of physics education on train routes

23 Oct 2013

Photo by Jason Clarke Photography

A prize-winning educational concept from Prof Shane Bergin has been brought to life on Dublin’s local train line with DARTofPhysics posters prompting scientific discovery.

Bergin, from Trinity College Dublin’s School of Physics – working with Prof Colette Murphy and Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin from the School of Education, and Dr Jessamyn Fairfield of the nanoscience institute CRANN – devised a plan to change the public perception of physics as a boring or unattractive subject.

Inspired by the London’s Poetry on the Underground campaign, DARTofPhysics was awarded a Designs for Learning prize by the Science Gallery and, with the support of Trinity College, Science Foundation Ireland, Iarnród Éireann, Metro Herald, Institute of Physics and iQ Content, DARTofPhysics has started to take over DART carriages.

The campaign will run for eight weeks, with posters providing a starting point to 12 interactive illustrated stories on the DARTofPhysics website, which aim to help demystify complex physics theories.

The idea is to get the city talking about physics and introduce people to this science in a way they can relate to the subject. The posters bear ‘wow’ statements to draw attention and encourage learning through teasers, facts and questions. 

Commuters will learn about the workings of the universe from the formation of stars and the behaviour of atoms to gravity, heat transfer and relativity. Meanwhile, the website will act as hub for everyone to find out more about physics, with blog posts from leading scientists and enthusiasts around the world discussing various related topics and profiling physics careers.

“DART and Iarnród Éireann are delighted to be involved in this thought-provoking campaign which will entertain our customers on their commute,” said David Franks, chief executive of Iarnród Éireann. “We would like to wish DARTofPhysics every success with this unique initiative.”

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.