GREENWICH VILLAGE — A plate of brains, some in slices, some in wholes. A table of worms, flies, and fish that demonstrates how model systems are used in neuroscience. And a game in which you have to move a ball through space using your brain waves.
These were just a few of the interactive booths in the NYU Langone Community Brain Fair at the NYU Langone Medical Center at 550 First Ave.
“Everyone here is more than willing to teach,” said Julie Tower-Pierce, who had come to the exhibit with her four children. Although her children didn't want to learn about the brain at first, they soon couldn't wait to move to the next booth, she said.
The exhibit, which was organized by NYU Neuroscience Institute and NYU Langone Medical Center, aimed to teach people about the brain in a fun, hands-on way.
Among the interactive activities was “dopamine pong,” which demonstrated the effects of drugs on dopamine activity with a simple game of cup pong. Another booth, a favorite of 11-year old Naia Tower-Pierce, taught about the symptoms of a brain concussion by inviting the guests to wear a pair of vision-distorting goggles.
“Everything ranges from advanced to basic materials,” Anthony Sanfiz said, as his 6-year old sons, Alex and Niam, eagerly engaged in an activity about the “Marvels of Memory.”
The Brain Langone Community Brain Fair was a part of Brain Day, an annual NYU event that celebrates Brain Awareness Week, a global event dedicated to raising awareness about brain, research, and treatment. Other events that were a part of Brain Day were “Staying Sharp,” in which experts discussed issues related to memory and brain health, and “Drawing the Brain,” in which participants took part of artist Laura Ferguson’s workshop.
“It’s very important for scientists to make their research more accessible to the public,” said Andrea Cumpelik, a student at the NYU Langone Medical Center and a teacher at one of the booths. “I’m glad that Brain Day makes this possible,” she said.