The Most Amazing Thing in the Universe
This time last year, I was presenting the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, “Meet Your Brain”that were filmed for the BBC. It was a major life event that took four months of preparation. One of the major hurdles was coming up with demonstrations that would work well for a young audience. To my surprise this was a lot harder than I imagined as there were not that many “off-the-shelf” examples to illustrate the basic principles of neuroscience that we teach our students.
In the end, we came up with three shows-worth of material and demonstrations that went down really well (excellent ratings by the TV pundits & over 4 million viewers). It seems like a distant memory now that I have returned to day job as an academic but I must confess I miss the spotlight and attention that the Christmas Lectures generate.
One legacy is that we have created a free online resource based around the content of the three lectures called “The Brain Bank.” This has all been down to an amazing amount of hard work by my longtime collaborator and friend, Dr. Natalia Gjersoe.
It contains video clips, demonstrations, images and Q&A discussions all aimed at a teenage audience. There are three sections that deal with architecture, functions and the social brain. It is especially good for UK teachers as it explains difficult concepts and tells you which part of the school’s curriculum each of the points cover but it has international appeal. After all, brains are pretty much the same wherever you are!
I really hope it gets used and inspires the next generation of brain scientists.
A couple of months back, the European Commission spent over £80,000 on a video to encourage more girls to take up science. A just cause but an atrocious video, I am sure you will agree.
It looks like it was made by Berlusconi and it would be funny if they were not deadly serious. It caused a major outcry and in response, the ‘girls’ in my department decided they could do better with a budget of £7.66. What do you think?
Did I mention I work in the best department in the world?