To mark Brain Awareness Week (March 13-19, 2017), the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium is kicking off fundraising efforts for their latest expansion, a permanent exhibit called “A Journey Through the Human Brain.” The exhibit will be unveiled to Science Center supporters at the organization’s annual benefit on March 30 – this year featuring renowned scientist and author, famous physics rock star Dr. Michio Kaku.
“The Future of the Mind – An Evening with Dr. Michio Kaku and the Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind” will take place in the Circle Dining Room at The Breakers, Palm Beach, and tickets are still available.
“I’m looking forward to being in Palm Beach for the South Florida Science Center’s annual event,” said Dr. Kaku. “I’m honored to have been invited to be their featured speaker, and I’m also looking forward to learning about the Science Center’s new walk-thru exhibit – A Journey Through the Human Brain!”
The exhibition will take a bottom-up approach to telling the story of the human brain, from the molecular and cellular level to the integrated circuitry that creates our hopes, fears and memories.
Quantum Foundation has already donated money for early funding to jumpstart the expected $2 million project. The exhibit will boast more than 2,300 square feet which will encompass a new west wing of the Science Center.
“As a health foundation, we’re pleased to support exhibits like this which foster a fascination for the sciences, especially among young people,” said Eric M. Kelly, President of Quantum Foundation. “Nothing can be more relevant to curious minds than the human brain with its complex physiology and functioning. From a medical perspective, the brain is a field that still needs to be explored and understood. Hopefully the young people of Palm Beach County will be intrigued into becoming our future great scientists, researchers and doctors.”
According to Science Center leadership, the goal is to break ground early next year on the exhibit which will be comprised of four galleries. The Introductory Gallery emphasizes the theme of the exhibit and will even feature walk-through brain mist and a 3D brain projection. An immersive Brain Room will show how much activity goes on in the brain every second. The Thoughts and Emotion gallery will show how much effort the brain goes through to lie. The Senses Gallery will allow visitors to explore sight, taste, smell, hearing and touch. A special “Brain Bar” will play host to experts who will be able to share their knowledge with guests and demonstrate high tech and cutting-edge Virtual Reality technologies used to visualize brain structure and function.
Visitors of all ages will learn the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle to support brain function as well as explore careers in neuroscience. A Brain Sciences Room will highlight advances neuroscientists in South Florida are making in unraveling aspects of brain development, signaling and plasticity and in detecting, preventing and treating disorders of the brain such as Addiction, Depression, Autism, Alzheimer’s Disease, Stroke, and Concussion.
The Science Center has paired with FAU Brain Institute investigators to develop the exhibit and also plans to draw on leading neuroscientists from the Max Planck Institute for Neuroscience and Scripps Research Institute Florida to further define and augment the experience. “This exhibit is on the forefront of science, and we are so grateful to share this important work with the Brain Institute and other partners,” said Lew Crampton, president and CEO of the Science Center. “Having Dr. Kaku speak about the brain at our Gala as we launch this effort underscores our focus on this area. Investing in this cause is a no-brainer. Studying the human brain is our priority, and once completed, the exhibit will be one of the most advanced displays on the brain, giving an inside-out look at the most complicated instrument in the universe. We hope this exhibit will allow visitors to understand themselves better and create memories that will resonate with them for years to come.”
Dr. Randy Blakely is the Executive Director of the FAU Brain Institute as well as Professor of Biomedical Science in FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine. “The brain is endlessly fascinating, whether exploring how it generates our hopes and dreams or what goes wrong in brain disorders,” said Dr. Blakely. “Neuroscientists are giving us an increasingly detailed picture of how the brain is built and works, and we hope through this exhibit to inspire young minds to delve even deeper into brain science.”
The mission of the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium is to “open every mind to science” and the indoor/outdoor venue with more than 100 hands-on educational exhibits, a 10,000 gallon fresh and salt water aquarium- featuring both local and exotic marine life, a digital planetarium, conservation research station, Florida exhibit hall, Pre-K focused “Discovery Center,” an interactive Everglades exhibit and the 18-hole Conservation Course – an outdoor putting course with science-focused education stations.
The FAU Brain Institute, under the direction of renowned neuroscientist Dr. Randy Blakely, represents a multi-million-dollar investment for interdisciplinary, cutting-edge neuroscience research across FAU’s multiple campuses. Inaugurated in 2016 on the Jupiter, FL campus, the Institute supports research, education and community outreach among more than 70 neuroscience faculty-level investigators at FAU and its affiliate research centers. The Institute seeks to unlock the secrets of brain development, function and plasticity and how the mechanisms uncovered can be compromised to drive devastating brain disorders. Neuroscience is one of FAU’s four pillars that guide the institution’s goals and strategic actions to develop and implement programs that will generate knowledge to benefit society.