New York University’s Brain Day at NYU Langone Health took place on Tuesday, March 13th, as part of BraiNY and the Dana Foundation’s long-standing collaboration to celebrate Brain Awareness Week! The event included a Brain Fair in the Farkas breezeway, where booths provided information on the brain, displayed models of brains to examine, and, of course, presented some real brains to hold, too. For those looking for a challenge, there was “Brain Jeopardy” for visitors to test their knowledge of the brain. This year, there was even a 3-D printer creating model of brain cells, including a Purkinje cell, a type of neuron found in the cerebral cortex that releases a neurotransmitter called GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid)! Dana publications and materials were handed out to attendees, which included many high school students.
Remember “the dress” phenomenon? A viral sensation, people took to social media to passionately argue over whether a photographed dress was blue and black or gold and white. How can this be? We rely on our senses to help us navigate the world, but what if I told you our individual perceptions are not always what they seem?
Well, don’t take my word for it, that’s what I learned from NYU neuroscientist David Schneider at Tuesday night’s show, “Everything is Hallucinated.” Held at “intelligent nightlife” venue, Caveat, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Schneider was directed by theater director Sarah Hughes in a performance-meets-academia talk–with props and illusions. This is one of many events with a neuroscience slant planned this week at Caveat for Brain Awareness Week (March 12-18).
One of the newest buildings in Harlem’s historic neighborhood is now home to the Jerome L. Greene Science Center, part of Columbia University’s Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute. The idea behind the Science Center’s construction was to have a designated place to support human connection, intellectual excellence, and pioneering research that goes beyond traditional academic boundaries. So, it only makes sense that the state-of-the-art glass and steel research center is where the BioBase opened its doors to the public for Brain Awareness Week on Monday.
The BioBase was bustling with young students and adults who explored the various stations to test out science experiments and research-grade lab equipment for themselves. Chief scientist Latasha Wright, Ph.D., who spearheaded the creation of the BioBase and the internship program at its sister facility, the BioBus, gave me a tour of the community lab and explained the different experiments that were designed to engage everyone from grades K-12 and up.
This week folks all over the world will be taking part in activities organized by people who share our love for the brain (thanks partners!). Brain Awareness Week is a chance for all of us to celebrate and learn more about the organ that is responsible for everything we do.
Events are taking place in venues from concert halls to classrooms, public plazas to cozy bars. Find something near you: Search the Brain Awareness Week calendar, choose your country or city to narrow the choices and go! Currently there are more than 680 events on the calendar; more are often added during this week, some that take place later in the month. (See also specific calendars for UK events and the Be Brainy New York City events)
The ethos of the Story Collider is this: Science touches every part of our lives. It surrounds us, whether we notice it or not. Now in its eighth year, the live storytelling show travels to cities across the US (and soon the UK) to bring personal tales of science to the public through narratives that can be heartbreaking or hilarious. Though the theme sounds strictly academic, it’s everything but. Featured storytellers have included actors, physicists, comedians, writers, and, of course, neuroscientists. But the point of the story is not to educate, as the show’s artistic director Erin Barker reiterated at Tuesday’s show at Caveat in New York City.
Rather than tell the audience what to expect from the show, co-hosts Barker and Paula Croxson bantered and told us what not to expect: “You will not hear any lectures, or seminars. You will not see any PowerPoint presentations. In fact, you won’t learn anything at all tonight… That is the first rule of Story Collider.” The show did have a theme, however, given its partnership with braiNY, the Greater NYC Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience, and with Brain Awareness Week (March 12-18) just around the corner: All five storytellers in the lineup had to share a true story involving the brain.