The Brain’s Complexity is Shown in the Art of Neuroscience

At times, art presents the most comprehensible medium to grasp a strong understanding of the exotic and mysterious mysteries about human existence.

The Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience recently organised the spectacular competition, Art of Neuroscience. This competition attracted entries from all over the globe to support the aim to “make the research from neuroscience labs more tangible… [and] for scientists to evaluate their own work from a different perspective.”

The recognized art pieces have been sourced from eminent and practicing scientists and neuroscience experiment, who have used various creative mediums to express their talent and creativity. Various artists have also taken part in this competition by collaborating with scientists. In this article, we will take a look at some of the most spectacular pieces showcased at the competition.

The art work highlights both, the physical intricacy and complex nature of the human brain, and most importantly, the sensitive nature of mental health problems and psychological conditions.

Alvin Kamermans, a Ph.D. student from the Vrije Universiteit Medical Centre, revealed a stunning image of the astrocytoma cells, a particular kind of brain cancer.

Astrocytoma Cells Brain Cancer


Yishul Wei, from the Netherlands institute, created the rhythms of the autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for controlling the most instinctive functions of the human body, such as digestion, and breathing, and in this image, the heartbeat. Yishul explains,

“…clearly seen the heart rhythm is not perfectly periodic, otherwise the heartbeats (R-waves or “spikes” in the ECG) would overlap.”

He further explains the phenomenon,

“The rhythm is also not random, but have complex structures reflecting the underlying complex nonlinear neural control outside of our consciousness.”

Complex Rhythm Sustaining Complex Life

Photo Credit: YISHUL WEI

Carles Bosch Piñol, from The Francis Crick Institute, along with artist Francesca Piñol Torrent, created depiction of the complex nature of the sense of smell, and they used a 3D scan of neurons from the glomerulus, which is a portion in the brain that aids in processing the sensation of smell, inside a woven tapestry.

Lynn Lu, a talented artist, created an interactive installation of art surrounding the research by neuroscientist Carmine Pariante, which highlighted the associations between the biological structure of the brain, mental health ailments, and stress.

Jenny Walsh, another talented artist, collaborated with neuroscientist Kate Jeffery, and Jeremy Keenan, a technician, to construct a musical glass sculpture. The idea behind the sculpture “represents a head-direction network that is controlled by the head movements of an exploring mouse.”

Musical Glass Sculpture


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