Celebrate Science Indiana
Professor Ehren Newman and student research assistants increased "brain awareness" at the Celebrate Science Indiana event at the Indiana State Fair.
Visitors, a majority of whom were families with school-aged children, learned about variability in brain morphology (size & shape) by examining real brains from a variety of animals in jars. Children and parents were encouraged to guess what animal they thought each brain might have come from, by way of showing how brain size varies with body size.
Newman's team taught curious visitors simple neuro-anatomy, showing the part of the brain that allows us to see versus the region that allows us to smell. All could clearly see the difference between the 'thinking-bits' (i.e., dark matter) and the 'telephone wiring bits' (i.e., white matter) that allow the thinking bits to talk.
PBS scientists demonstrated a brain-computer-interface on site. Such interfaces are possible because our brains use electricity of sorts to think. Discussion about possible future neurotechnology were stimulated by asking visitors, "What would you do if you could control anything by just thinking about it?"