Think Tank Gala Celebrates Science

At Tuesday night’s Think Tank gala, science fans came out to support Tyler Alterman and his mission to build a mobile lab to teach scientific thinking to STEM-underrepresented children. Providing a fun and interactive lab experience, Tyler expressed his hope to help inspire the next generation of scientists.

The progress Alterman has made since he began the project as his honor’s thesis at CUNY has been impressive. Through a successful crowd-funding campaign, sponsorships, and the gala, he and his team of artists and scientists have raised approximately $35,000 toward their goal of $50,000. Last Friday, they announced that The Think Tank was invited to launch a pilot program with the University of Chicago. Needless to say the mood at the gala was most celebratory.

Think Tank Bash_MeThis is no ordinary bus. Plans for The Think Tank include a large glowing brain atop the vehicle. Who wouldn’t want to check it out? I couldn’t resist even the cardboard version.

The event was not only a good place to learn more about The Think Tank’s initiatives, but also about other New York City neuroscience happenings. Part of the evening was devoted to screenings of two short films from Imagine Science Films, as well as a preview of the upcoming film Neurodome.

As explained by Jonathan Fisher, Ph.D., the founder and director of the program:

Neurodome is a project devoted to teaching the public about the brain by creating visualizations in planetarium format. Using real data collected from neuroscientists and astrophysicists, we are creating a unique experience that lets a viewer “fly” from the outer reaches of space to the inner depths of the mind.  The open-source visualization tools we are developing, largely in collaboration with planetarium production specialists, will be used for a set of live, lecture-style “Neurotours,” guided by specialists, and are also currently being used to produce a planetarium show that explores the brain for distribution to museums.

Dana Foundation friend and Brain Awareness Week collaborator, Kelley Remole is a member of the Neurodome team and was on hand to introduce the film preview at the gala. In fact, I was so pleased to see a number of New York Brain Awareness Week (braiNY) collaborators and neuroscience outreach enthusiasts at the gala.

BraiNY at Brain Bash(Left to Right): Catherine Jensen Peña (Mount Sinai), Kara Marshall (Columbia University), Kelley Remole (Columbia University), Heather McKellar (NYU), Alexis Hill (Columbia University). Photo Credit: Heather McKellar.

After the films, guests were treated to the tunes of neuroscience rock band (you heard that right) The Amygdaloids, fronted by Dana Alliance member and memory and emotion specialist Joe LeDoux, Ph.D. Not only are the members of the band scientists, but they sing about the brain.

Amygdaloids at Think Tank Bash Think Tank Bash_Dancers
The Amygdaloids close out the night at The Think Tank gala and revelers take to the dance floor.

To learn more about The Think Tank, visit their website http://cogscionwheels.org/. To read more about the gala festivities, search the Twitter hashtag #brainbash.

– Ann L. Whitman

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