On Thursday evening, Beautiful Brain: Neuroscience+Art was held at the Morehead Planetarium. The event explored the correlation between neuroscience and the arts through different forms of artwork depicting neurons.
Marsha Penner, the director of undergraduate research in psychology and neuroscience, said this was the second year for the event. The event promoted International Brain Awareness Week, which will be happening during UNC’s Spring Break.
“Although people think of art and science as different, the process is very similar in that you need to be really creative in coming up with an interesting question and then diving deep into that question,” Penner said.
Local artists and neuroscience researchers donated artwork to the event.
Young Yun, a senior bio-chemistry major, submitted his artwork to the event. He said he finds happiness in teaching other people why he loves science and he finds the brain to be really interesting.
“There is something really beautiful about brains," he said. "I am a science major and an art minor so I want people to connect the two.”
The idea for the event branched off of the first event and the ideas of junior Savita Madan. Madan was a student in Penner’s class for the 2016-17 school year and helped organize last year’s event. She wanted to look at the idea for the event in a new way.
“At another school I don’t think I would have found this opportunity," she said. "As a sophomore I was able to say, ‘This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while,’ and my classmates, my professors and the people around me said, ‘Yes, let’s do it. Let’s make it happen.’ That is so inspiring.”
Madan hopes the the event will spark interest and show how UNC is giving back to the community.
Samantha Brosso, a senior psychology major, is the student mentor for Penner’s psychology class. She said the turnout was better this year and included kids from the Morehead afterschool program, which has allowed the event to better reach the population. Brosso said knowing about the brain is important for good health.
“The first time I saw an actual picture of a neuron I thought it was art," she said. "I didn’t know it was a neuron.”
Brosso said she hopes people can see that neuroscience is not an intimidating subject. She said it is for everyone and not just one type of person.
Yun said he believes that if people can relate to science and art after the event, then they have accomplished their goal.
Brosso said she hopes the event happens next year.
“I would imagine we would probably want to do this again for sure," she said. "I think it’s a really fun way to advocate neuroscience and also reach different people.”
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