What does the brain actually look like?
Do we know what each part of the brain does? If so, how?
How do brain surgeries work?
This week I have been fortunate enough to be one of the bloggers invited to a ‘personalised tour’ of the Brains: Mind As Matter exhibition at Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry. Curator Marius Kwint, neuroscientist Prof. Stuart Allan and artist Daksha Patel guided us through this amazing exhibition which tells the story of how our knowledge of the brain developed over time and what we have done to the brain. The exhibition begins by showing the audience how brains (and in turn people), were classified according to the size of their heads- an extremely prejudistic and not to mention, flawed approach. Then it shows how people from Descartes to Cajal to Jeff Lichtman have attempted to represent the anatomy of the brain. Lastly, it tell us about the different surgical procedure such as trephination (drilling holes in people’s skulls), most of which are accentuated by photographs of people who have undergone such procedures. Gory though as it may seem, but such vivid truth-telling is what drew me even more to take a closer look, twice if not three times at each display.
The Brains exhibition highlights the interconnection between our culture and our understanding of the brain. However, what intrigued me the most is the fact that despite the enormous amount of progress and knowledge that we have accumulated through years of research, we still know very little about that 1.5 kilograms of mass that control our lives. The exhibit left me with a rush of excitement stemming from the realisation that there is so much more to discover about the brain, and that I, personally, can take part in these discoveries.
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