Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The inside story of the brain revealed at new exhibition

A major new exhibition looks at some of the great and gruesome things we have done to our grey matter over the course of human history.

Albert Einstein’s genius brain is going on display at a major new exhibition telling the remarkable story of our grey matter.

The exhibition, Brains: The Mind As Matter, looks at what we have done to our noggins over the course of human history in 150 objects, including art, manuscripts, artifacts, videos and photography.

The brain’s secrets continue to confound and inspire us, despite our attempts over the centuries to manipulate and study it.

As well as Einstein’s brain, which research shows had larger-than-normal regions for dealing with numbers, there are also specimens of the founder of computing, Charles Babbage, and serial killer William Burke.

Artworks on the theme of the brain by contemporary artists including Helen Pynor, Andrew Carnie, Annie Cattrell, Susan Aldworth, Jonathon Keats and Katharine Dowson will also be on display.

The exhibtition takes us through journey around our brains, and the emotions and ethics associated with what we do to it.

The brain contains 100 billion nerve cells and some 100 trillion synapses or neural connections. It cannot be transplanted.

The exhibition has four sections:

* Measuring / Classifying, looks at our attempts to understand the relationship between the size and shape of the brain and how it functions

* Mapping / Modelling shows how we have tried to represent the anatomy of the brain from wax models to beautiful paintings and the latest kaleidoscopic Brainbow images of nerve cells

* Cutting / Treating explores how we have drilled and dissected the brain over thousands of years from early crude attempts to complex 3D images

* Giving /Taking traces the stories of brain harvesting, from the horrors of Nazi mass murder and experimentation to the hope offered by research into neuro-degenerative disorders

Marius Kwint, guest curator, said: "Brains shows how a single, fragile organ has become the object of modern society’s most profound hopes, fears and beliefs, and some of its most extreme practices and advanced technologies.

“The different ways in which we have treated and represented real, physical brains open up a lot of questions about our collective minds.”

Ken Arnold, head of public programmes at Wellcome Collection, added: "We all recognise its outline and know that it is the most important part of us; but for many, the brain remains as mysterious as it is beguiling.

“This exhibition presents brains of extraordinary people among other intriguing specimens, and showcases remarkable tales from more than 500 years of scientific investigation into the physical matter of the mind.”

News by Mirror

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