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Slinky science engages the brain

12 Apr 2011

Visitors to the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) had chance to ‘Meet A Neuroscientist’ recently as part of the museum’s season of science engagement events.

Emily and the team of University neuroscientists at MOSI
Emily and the team of University neuroscientists at MOSI

Emily Robinson, a Neuroscience PhD student in The University of Manchester's Faculty of Life Sciences, along with her fellow Neuroscience volunteers, demonstrated how a simple slinky can be used to explain complex ideas such as how information is passed along a brain cell.

Emily said: “The events aim to get people engaged in science whatever their age.  People are sometimes put off because they think you need to have a white lab-coat and look like Einstein.  I want to show that neuroscience is all around us in everyday life, in how we see, smell, touch and hear our environment.”

Using an array of hands-on activities, intricacies about the senses and information about the brain were explained to young and old and there was plenty of opportunity to get involved, have some fun and learn more about the brain.

The event also looked at what happens when things go seriously wrong with the brain, such as in stroke patients – an area of research on which Emily and her fellow colleagues are currently concentrating.

Emily added: “We received some very encouraging feedback and it was a great opportunity to talk to people and answer some of the questions they have about stroke.  We even got to talk to one lady who, 12 months ago, survived a large haemorrhagic stroke. Experiences like these remind researchers why we need to keep striving to find ways to help stroke victims.”

The event was made possible by securing funding through a successful outreach grant from the Physiology Society.