This is the first in a series of Brain Awareness Week partner interviews, in which partners share their experiences and tips for planning successful events. Professor Gal Richter-Levin, is the head of the Institute for the Study of Affective Neuroscience (ISAN), at the University of Haifa, Israel, and a member of the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives.
How and why did you first become involved in Brain Awareness Week?
In 2010, my Ph.D. supervisor, Prof. Menahem Segal, introduced me to the important activities of the European Dana Alliance for the Brain. At about that time, we decided at the Israeli Society for Neuroscience (ISFN) to make it an annual activity of our society to reach out to the public during Brain Awareness Week and to hold lectures in community centers all over Israel.
During Brain Awareness Week, ISFN and the BASHAAR association organized free public lectures all over Israel, on topics such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and depression. Some of the lectures were delivered to adult audiences, and some to high school students; how do the scientists differentiate how they present the information to the two groups?
There is a difference between presentations to adult audiences and high school students—and one can differentiate further between adult and senior audiences. When presenting to high school students, the emphasis is on the potential contribution of science, and in particular neuroscience, to society, with the aim of increasing their motivation to consider science and neuroscience as a future career. In addition, ethical issues, such as animal experimentations and eventual prices of developed drugs, are often discussed.