Come on over and pick our brains

An academic working on brain research
07 Mar 2013 11:25:23.130

It weighs around 3lb, is almost 75% water and generates enough energy to power a light bulb. The human brain may give us the evolutionary edge in the animal kingdom but how much do we know about the amazing organ that very much makes us the individuals we are?

Now The University of Nottingham is opening its doors to the public to offer people of all ages the chance to embark on a voyage of discovery about the brain — from its incredible capabilities to the devastating effects of injury or degenerative disease.

Brain Matters, taking place on Saturday March 16, is an interactive community open day, hosted by Neuroscience @ Nottingham, that brings together University researchers, national and local charities/community organisations and local schools and colleges to mark the end of Brain Awareness Week 2013.
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The event, which is open free to the public, will run from 1pm to 7pm in the foyer and main auditorium of the Business School South on Jubilee Campus.

Professor Chris Rudd, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Public Engagement, said: “This exciting event presents an ideal opportunity for members of the local community to come to the university and see the impact that our world-leading researchers are making on furthering our knowledge of the brain and bringing new therapies and treatments from bench to bedside.

“In particular, for people whose lives have been affected by an illness or injury to the brain — for example, parents with children diagnosed with a brain tumour or relatives of stroke patients — it’s a chance to develop their understanding of the condition and to speak to researchers and local charities about their experiences.”

Researchers from across the University —together with representatives and volunteers from eight national charities — will be on hand to discuss their work and will provide short talks on fascinating topics, including schizophrenia, the senses, brain tumours, cloning the Human brain, dementia, pain and stroke.

Interactive, fun and engaging brain-related activities aimed at all age ranges include:

• In Pain in the Mem-Brain — how is pain affected by our feelings, thoughts and memories?
• InflatiBrain — crawl inside a giant inflatable brain and explore your own mind
• NeuroMaps — learn your way around with real brains, charts and models
• The Future of Mind Control — move things with the power of your mind
• Head’s Up — see your brain by wearing a hat
• Where’s That Coming From? — learn how we localise sound
• Build Your Own Brain
• Face Painting — be a nerve cell
• How Similar are Animal Brains? — Pin the brain on the species game

The event has been organised in partnership with a number of charities and local support groups including: the Alzheimer’s Society, Arthritis Research UK, Dementia Action Alliance, HeadSmart Campaign, Headway, Nottinghamshire Community and Voluntary Services (CVS), the Brain Tumour Charity, the Ear Foundation and the Stroke Association.

The event will also mark the affiliation of The University of Nottingham to the Nottinghamshire Dementia Action Alliance, run by the Alzheimer’s Association, which will be formally launched at the event at 4pm with a visit by Victoria Pearce, regional DAA coordinator.

The Nottinghamshire DAA works toward developing dementia friendly communities, sharing information and best practice and promoting the voice of the person with dementia and their carer.

Justine Schneider, Professor of Mental Health and Social Care, said: “By joining the Dementia Action Alliance, the University of Nottingham has aligned itself with this important initiative to build more dementia-friendly communities. In addition to our research and professional education in the field of dementia, we promote public engagement about dementia and support medical students to be volunteer visitors for people in hospital with memory problems.”

Professor Schneider will also be presenting Inside Out of Mind,a documentary about making a play based on research in dementia wards between 1pm and 1.30pm in the main auditorium.

The event will culminate with a free ticketed canapé reception and Evening with Professor Colin Blakemore, President of The Brain Tumour Charity between 5pm and 7pm. Professor Blakemore, former Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council and a frequent broadcaster on radio and television, will deliver a lecture entitled What’s Special About the Human Brain? In the talk he will examine why the human brain, which is not the biggest in the animal kingdom and which shares many cognitive functions with other species, has allowed us to develop amazing uniquely human abilities such as speech.

The reception and talk are free and open to the public but places are limited so booking is essential. Bookings can be made at

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottinghamhas 42,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It was ‘one of the first to embrace a truly international approach to higher education’, according to the Sunday Times University Guide 2013. It is also one of the most popular universities among graduate employers, one of the world’s greenest universities, and winner of the Times Higher Education Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development’. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong and the QS World Rankings.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University aims to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for its research into global food security.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fundraising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…

Story credits

More information is available from Paul Goodwin on 07922 572746, or Emma Thorne, Media Relations Manager in the Communications Office at The University of Nottingham, on +44 (0)115 951 5793,

Emma Thorne Emma Thorne - Media Relations Manager

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5793 Location: University Park

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