UI program planning activities focusing on brain

URBANA – Here's an event you should think about attending to find out more about why you can think about attending it.

And why you can think about a lot of other things, not to mention why you can see, hear and smell the stuff you will see if you do attend.

Your brain is integral to all that and integral to the annual Brain Awareness Day being put on by students and faculty in the University of Illinois Neuroscience Program on Sunday.

The event will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. in and around the old Baskin's store space in Lincoln Square in downtown Urbana. It is free and open to – designed for, in fact – the public.

Highlighting diversity in neuroscience, both in the research in the field and of the people who perform it, is the theme this year, said UI Professor Donna Korol, one of the organizers.

The local version of a Dana Foundation and Society for Neuroscience program nationally, Brain Awareness Day is an opportunity to interest kids in science and also a chance for UI brain researchers to share information about their work in general.

The day will feature a variety of activities oriented toward children, including an art contest with the theme "Brain Power!" The idea is to render your idea of brain power in a painting, drawing, sculpture, collage or another art form.

Korol said the overall diversity focus extends to displays touching on the differences, as well as similarities, between the brains of people and animals like rats, fish, flatworms and sea slugs, even honey bees, the latter including an observation hive allowing visitors to see them in action.

Other exhibits, many hands-on, will cover such topics as hearing and hearing loss, the brain at sleep and while dreaming, optical illusions and memory and more.

Korol said participants can submit work for the art contest before the event or create an entry on site.

Afterward, the participants' artwork will be displayed at the Orpheum Children's Science Museum in Champaign.

The museum helps support Brain Awareness Day.

For details see: www.life.uiuc.edu/neuroscience/program/highlights/artcontest.html.

Visitors also will have the opportunity to contribute to a giant brain collage focusing on information from the exhibits.

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