Brain Awareness Week Explores the Universe Between Your Ears
Neuroscience advocates across the globe gathered together March 16-22 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Brain Awareness Week (BAW), a global campaign created by the Dana Foundation to increase public awareness about brain research. SfN chapters, university groups, hospitals, and schools hosted events including lab tours, art exhibitions, public lectures, and classroom workshops in an effort to share the wonders of the brain and nervous system with people of all ages.
“People of all ages really respond when they have the opportunity to learn about the brain and what makes them tick,” said Kelley Remole, director of neuroscience outreach at Columbia University’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute and member of the SfN Public Education and Communication Committee. “The magic of Brain Awareness Week is engaging people to think deeply about their brain — what makes us human — and the science behind it. It’s part of our broader effort to build an informed public that is enthusiastic and supportive of science."
The Dana Foundation’s international calendar of events captured the growing enthusiasm for the campaign, showing nearly 450 events taking place around the world. Students at King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, started the festivities early, celebrating their first ever BAW in February. Neuroscience enthusiasts in Nigeria and Argentina each hosted six events while supporters in Turkey hosted more than 20 events, including a song and dance workshop and special activities for preschool children.
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SfN Chapters Bring BAW to Life
SfN’s Tucson (Ariz.) Chapter featured a “brain zoo,” with the brains from various animals on display in its brain awareness booth at the Tucson Festival of Books.
SfN’s North Central Florida Chapter sponsored neuroscience demonstrations at schools in the Gainesville area and invited homeschooled students to join the festivities at the McKnight Brain Institute. Demonstrations included brain tricks as well as arts and crafts, and high school students were able to perform their own dissections of a sheep brain.
SfN’s Greater New York City Chapter organized more than 25 events as part of its annual braiNY campaign in honor of BAW. braiNY events included the BioBus, a New York City bus outfitted to serve as an educational science lab for kids; NeuroYoga, featuring a discussion with a neuroscientist about the neuroscience involved in learning yoga; and a number of community brain fairs and public lectures. braiNY also featured adults-only programming with “Nerd Nite” at a local cabaret and the “Brains and Brews” event where participants could enjoy a beer with guitar-playing neuroscientists.
SfN’s Lehigh Valley (Pa.) Chapter hosted its 10th annual “Brain Party,” offering more than 25 hands-on neuroscience activities for children and their families. Participants had the opportunity to challenge their vision, test their reflexes, and record an EEG of their own brains.
SfN’s University of California-Davis Chapter visited local schools to teach brain anatomy and set up a booth complete with interactive activities at the local farmers market.