Science Showoff temporarily set up shop at Art Neuro with the aim to excite and enthuse about matters of the brain. As always, it was kicked off with the captivating Steve Cross who ‘has a brain but rarely uses it!’ his words not mine. With the help of some unwitting volunteers he demonstrated how delicious brains are by performing a taste test live on stage – don’t worry not actual brains but the rather tempting ‘Mega Brain Licker’ from the local pound shop. Final verdict it tastes like coke – as in cola, not the other kind!
Moving on to some science. The first of our distinguished line up was Ben Dornan who demonstrated how our brain works to make sense of the world. It helps us to do this by filling in missing stimuli, which can sometimes lead to auditory and visual illusions. He ended his set with a familiar tune from the White Stripes – Blue Orchid and tricked all of our brains into having an erection!
Maya Kaushik was next who gave us a worrying introduction into real life examples of how infectious agents can change our behaviour – making the idea of zombies all the more plausible. From Cordyceps, a fungus that makes ants climb to the top of plants before they die, allowing the spores to rain down and infect other ants, to Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that weirdly makes rats sexually attracted to cats!
Peter Harrison was next trying to prove that science is not boring by presenting the ‘most boring thing he could think of – taxonomy’. He goes on to list all the ridiculous (or down right bloody brilliant) names people have come up with for their newly discovered species – my personal favourite was the horse fly with a rather large golden bottom called Scaptia beyonceae.
Bringing up the rear was David Urry with this rather fetching homemade brain swimming cap. He rounded up with the night with a good old fashioned sing-a-long about how we should be more mindful to combat stress. So let’s take a leaf out of the Dalai Lama’s book and chill the F#@! out!
Supatra Marsh, Art Neuro founder