Hobart and William Smith Colleges - Physics Truck Brings Experiments on Wheels
The HWS Update
Physics Truck 2

Physics Truck Brings Experiments on Wheels

Physics Truck 1Students experimented with professional physics equipment in the “Food Truck for the Physics Mind” on Feb. 8 and 9 outside of the Scandling Campus Center. The 44-foot trailer — complete with 15 expert instruments such as lasers, muon detectors and modern interferometers — travels between college and university campuses to provide the opportunity to experiment in the lab like seasoned researchers.

“We hope that (visitors) will get the feeling of real physics experiments, appreciate it and learn the history of experimentation,” explains Assistant Professor of Physics Ileana Dumitriu, who was staffing the truck on Wednesday.  “The students will appreciate more of the equipment we have in our labs as well.”

Designed specifically for inquiry-based learning, the physics truck’s instruments promote conceptual understanding and professional results while being accessible for students of all physics levels.

“I gained more insight to how to develop your own method for experimentation,” said Kemal Turksomnez ’19, who conducted an experiment with the pulsed/CW nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer, a device that reads nuclear magnetic signals from hydrogen (protons) and fluorine.

The “food truck” began traveling to campuses last month, making HWS its second stop before embarking on a cross-country trip later this year.

The Food Truck for the Physics Mind is operated by Teachspin, a company dedicated to expanding access to advanced lab equipment throughout higher education. It took them two years to build the truck.  Proceeds from Teachspin benefit the Jonathan F. Reichert Foundation, which strives to enhance instruction and discovery throughout the field of experimental physics.

Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.