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Visitors to rack brains over how mind works
THE mysteries of the human brain and how it works will be explored by visitors to an Oxford University museum.
Brain Awareness Week runs from today to Sunday.
To celebrate, the Museum of the History of Science in Broad Street has teamed up with researchers from the Oxford Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute to present a series of activities and talks on the subject of Sleep and the Brain.
A team of neuroscientists will take over the museum’s Basement Gallery on Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, to run brain-related activities for children aged six and over.
The activities launch an exhibition called Revealing the Brain, which runs until Sunday, June 2, featuring videos and artefacts from the museum.
Oxford University’s Department of physiology, anatomy and genetics is supporting the exhibition.
Prof Zoltan Molnar, a spokesman for the department, said: “Exhibits show publications and objects that helped to establish some fundamental concepts behind our understanding of the brain.
“The exhibition gives a flavour of Oxford neuroscience since the time of Thomas Willis in the 17th century, and Nobel Prize winner Sir Charles Sherrington in the 20th century, right through to the latest discoveries made today by leading groups at Oxford University.”
The entrance gallery will display a collection of brain-related artefacts, including knives used for cutting sections of brains.
Oxford has been a centre for neuroscience research for centuries since Thomas Willis invented the term ‘neurology’ in 1664.
Visitors will be able to find out more about their own brain activity and investigate the links between sleep, health and diet.
Prof Russell Foster, an Oxford University expert in the study of circadian rhythms that govern waking and sleeping patterns, is giving a lecture on Thursday at 7pm entitled Body Clocks, Sleep and Light.
Prof Christopher Kennard, chairman of the university’s neuroscience strategy committee, added: “Understanding the workings of the human brain is one of the last great frontiers of scientific research and a field in which Oxford is particularly strong.
“Research in this area has moved forward enormously over the past 300 years and is now yielding new hope for some of the most debilitating diseases.
“This has been a fantastic opportunity for researchers to work with the museum and bring science to the public.”
The activities week and exhibition are supported by the Oxford Biomedical Research Centre.
For further information visit mhs.ox.ac.uk All events and activities are free.