Exploring the Personal Side of Science

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A collegiate swim team, uncontrollable diarrhea, an uncle’s drum solo, green Jell-O, and getting lost in the streets of Bogotá, Colombia, may seem like unlikely elements at a Brain Awareness Week event. But not at the annual “Studying the Brain: A Storytelling Event hosted by The Friedman Brain Institute,” which highlights personal stories from Mount Sinai students, fellows, and professors. Five brainy participants stepped out of the lab and classroom and onto the stage of El Barrio’s Artspace PS109 in Manhattan, to share real life events that unexpectedly influenced their scientific journeys. Paula Croxson, assistant professor of neuroscience and psychiatry and the 2018 SfN Science Educator Award recipient, and Casey Lardner, Ph.D. candidate in neuroscience, hosted the BraiNY event.

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Happy Brain Awareness Week!

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Seyitgazi Middle School students celebrate Brain Awareness Week 2017, organized by Eskişehir Osmangazi University in Turkey.

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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)

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Brain Awareness Week 2018

Guest post by Urooj Ansari, Social Media Chair at Be Brainy NYC

In 2012, Be Brainy NYC, the Greater NYC Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience, held its first Brain Awareness Week. Launched by Ho Yu of Columbia University, the chapter was expanded by Heather McKellar of NYU, Paula Croxson of Mount Sinai, Kelley Remole of Columbia University, Ted Altschuler of Baruch College, and Heather Bowling, formerly of NYU. The earliest members, graduate school friends and colleagues from their respective institutions, met at the Dana Foundation’s office to organize their first events.

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Six years later, Be Brainy NYC is still true to its original mission of bringing brain science to the public. With a variety of events beginning next week, individuals from every age group and background imaginable will find activities in the city where they can learn about the squishy two-pound mass encased within their skulls.

One of the first events this year, and the newest one on the calendar, is the “Rap Guide to Consciousness.” With the use of hip hop comedy, “peer-reviewed rapper” Baba Brinkman will explore consciousness in an event for adults. The show will be held every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night through April at the Soho Playhouse.

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Visit BrainFacts.org

If you follow our blog, you’re no doubt familiar with the print and video resources we offer about the brain. In this blog, we wanted to take a moment to recognize the wonderful offerings you can find on the website of a key Brain Awareness Week partner, the Society for Neuroscience (SfN).

On the newly relaunched BrainFacts.org, you can find a beginner’s guide to the brain and nervous system. Under eight neuroscience “core concepts,” you’ll receive an overview on everything from how neurons communicate, to the source of curiosity. A short (under two-minute) video accompanies each concept, along with an interactive activity and related reading.

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Credit: The Society for Neuroscience

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Neuroscientists Heading to Washington, DC, This Week

sfn2017We’re heading off to attend the Society for Neuroscience’s Annual Meeting, which officially starts next Saturday in Washington, DC. Some 30,000 neuroscientists and others will converge in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center – a city’s worth of brain-lovers! Just before that, we’ll be taking in the annual meeting of the International Neuroethics Society (INS), held at the AAAS Building, just down the street. Stay tuned for posts and photos from both. Here’s some of what we’re looking forward to; many of the non-science sessions this year are on aspects of science communication and outreach.

NOTE: If you’re nearby, some of these events are free and open to the public—come by and say hi!

Thursday, Nov. 9

5:30 pm to 8 pm (Eastern time) “To Tell the Truth!,” a public forum where an international group of experts will discuss how we learn to lie, why some people lie a lot, and the limits on our abilities to detect lies—even when we are lying to ourselves. Come on by if you’re in the DC area: This event, part of the INS meeting at AAAS, is free, but please register.

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