CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Budding scientists will be able to get a taste and feel for neuroscience when researchers at the University of Illinois host their annual Brain Awareness Day on Saturday (April 14) at the Orpheum Children's Science Museum in Champaign.
Now in its 12th year, the event includes a variety of educational and entertaining exhibits and activities that promote public awareness of neuroscience and showcase the work of university researchers.
In addition to being able to handle and examine brains from various types of animals, including humans, visitors will be able to construct brains from modeling clay to take home; use their brains waves to control machines; experience what hearing is like for people who use cochlear implants; and learn about what happens when improper connections are formed in the brain.
Edible Neurons, a popular exhibit that will return this year, allows visitors to construct models of neurons from marshmallows, licorice and other sweet treats. Also returning is the Invincible Invertebrate, an exhibit that illustrates what scientists can learn about the brain and nervous system from invertebrate species.
"Although some of the activities are aimed at a younger audience, people of all ages can have a great time and very much benefit from it," said psychology professor Roberto Galvez, who researches the processes that underlie storage and retrieval of learned information in the brain's neocortex. "The neuroscience labs on campus really do a wonderful job of making this a very interactive event for the community."
Last year's event included 21 exhibits sponsored by 15 campus laboratories and was attended by more than 460 people, said Galvez, who is coordinating Brain Awareness Day for the second year and expects a similar number of booths again.
Brain Awareness Day is sponsored by the Neuroscience Program at the U. of I. and the Central Illinois Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience. The event is part of the society's national awareness campaign, Brain Awareness Week, which was March 12-18 this year. The U. of I. event is typically held off schedule to accommodate spring break and other scheduled events on campus.
Brain Awareness Day will be from 1-5 p.m. Admission to the event and the museum, 346 N. Neil St., will be free.
For further information, contact Galvez at email@example.com, or Sam Beshers, coordinator of the Neuroscience Program, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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