Programs and Events

Happy Brain Awareness Week!

March 11 – 17, 2013 marks the 17th year for this annual week that promotes awareness and appreciation of brain research, founded and coordinated by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives and European Dana Alliance for the Brain.

Brain Awareness Week is March 11-17 this year. This is the week that neuroscientists get their geek on – for real. When neuroscientists get the chance to show off their neuro-passion, the cortex knows no limits! A quick perusal of the Brain Awareness videos produced during the Society for Neuroscience’s contest will attest to this fact. (Yes, you can enter the contest for this year – see website for details.)

There are countless interactive demonstrations and lectures planned for this year’s Brain Awareness Week geared towards children, teens, and adults (young- and old-at-heart). A few examples of the wonderful activities planned include:

  • demonstrations and explanations of various brain recording techniques including EEG, fMRI, and single unit recording,
  • real brains to touch and cut,
  • opportunities to make neurons out of candy and brains out of play dough,
  • brain parties and lunch & learns,
  • Brain Bees for high school students,
  • research symposiums about brain research,
  • public lectures on brain disorders and current treatment options,
  • etc., etc., etc.

Did I mention that these activities are being planned across the globe? This is an international effort with more than 82 countries participating in some way. To find an event near you, check out the international calendar. To give you an idea of the sheer number of events, there are 433 events listed for North America, 64 events in South America, 289 events planned in Europe, 35 events in Asia, 25 events in Australia, and 30 events in Africa. If you look within the United States, 42 states have events planned.

If this event sounds familiar to you, it may be because my fellow blogger, Eric Chudler, wrote about this a few weeks ago here on this blog. What can I say, we're all excited about making the public aware of the wonderful organ in our heads!

Child's Drawing of a Brain
“I love my brain!” (Zoe, age 4)

On a personal note, this will be my third year coordinating the efforts of our local Brain Awareness Week activities at Nova Southeastern University. I love getting students involved in this because they learn so much about the brain – and themselves – preparing their presentations. Students often remark how much fun they had and how much they learned about the brain through the process. On the other end, I love hearing from people who attend the events about how much they enjoyed learning about the brain. After one kids’ event we held, a mother came up to me and said how glad she was that we held the event because her 4 year old (!) starting asking questions about what his brain did in his head. My own 5 year old still talks about how she was able to touch and cut a brain at the Miami Brain Fair last year. You can see how the experience inspired her to take crayon to paper! To be able to foster a student’s and child’s sense of wonder about the brain makes me very happy indeed.

I hope you take the opportunity this week to learn more about the brain – either at an event or here on Go out and learn something about your brain with your brain. You might be surprised to find yourself taking crayon to paper!

I’d love to hear about your own experiences with Brain Awareness Week- please share them in the comments section.

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Content Provided By

The Dana Foundation

The Dana Foundation is a private philanthropic organization that supports brain research through grants and educates the public about the successes and potential of brain research.