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The Artistic Brain

22.11.12 | 0 תגובות
Joint Programme for Jewish and Arab Teenagers
at the Bloomfield Science Museum Jerusalem

The brain is the most complex and amazing organ in the body.

It is the site of our every thought; the recipient of our senses—from beautiful melodies and flowing rhyme to frightening shrieks and disturbing creaks; the controller of our actions—both conscious and automatic; the determinant of communication with the outside world—through speaking, reading, grimaces or smiles; and the seat of our intellectual and our emotional lives, our ruminations when awake and our dreams in sleep. In short, our brains are the fountainhead of everything we consider our "selves ".

Over the millennia, much has been learned about the workings of the brain—how it is able to perform such a broad range of functions with such a limited repertoire of parts and interconnections. Perhaps the greatest wonder of nature is how this very small organ can rapidly learn to perform so many different tasks and gradually adapt to doing so under changing conditions and novel environments. We now know in great detail the biophysical mechanisms by which nerve cells transmit information from end to end and across the gaps between them; we have identified the physiological mechanisms underlying the reception of mechanical, chemical and electromagnetic signals from the outside world by our sensory organs; and we understand many of the principles behind the activation and control of our muscles and hormone-producing glands. Still, we are largely in the dark when it comes to the processing of sensory information, the thought processes that take place in our minds, and the basics of learning and memory. We know even less about our own creativity, imagination and character, and what it means to be conscious and aware of our own selves.

Learning about the brain has become somewhat like exploratory geography, with new territory being discovered and charted every day.

The Artistic Brain program will present an opportunity for young minds to explore the workings of their own brains and to discover what about them is unique and what is shared with all humankind. The journey of exploration will pass through main portals, highlighting the senses, brain anatomy, cutting-edge brain research technologies, and artistic focus on narratives like Music, Models and Motor.

The content will allow teenagers to reflect on their own everyday experiences and relate these to the workings of the brain. What is the process that enables specialized nerve cells to absorb light and ultimately create the experience of perception? How does the brain translate sound to the marvelous emotional experience of music? What mechanism in the brain allows us to communicate using language in speech and in writing, and how are these two activities related? How is motion initiated and controlled by the brain for speech, dance, sport or a warm embrace?

The Artistic Brain course is a joint programme for Jewish and Arab teenagers, to operate over 2013 as part of the StudioLab, a Science & Society 7th FP project.