Brain Sense

How your brain makes sense of your senses.

Arts and Sciences Challenge Promotes Brain Awareness

Here's Your Chance to Design an Icon for the Brain Age

Last December (in "Will Neurocsience Change Education?", I wrote about Dr. M. A. Greenstein of the George Greenstein Institute of Pasadena, California. Greenstein says the institute’s mission is to bridge the gap between pure research and the classroom, delivering (in Greenstein‘s words) “the wisdom and power of truly applied neuroscience into the hands of learners and leaders to make change by design!”

 In support of International Brain Awareness Week (March 11-17), Greenstein's group is trying to bring brain awareness to the public through  a new arts- and science-based challenge called GLASSIFY! Through April 11, students of all ages, as well as neuroscientists, designers, data visualizers, artists and architects, are invited to submit their 2-D or 3-D vision of an icon for the brain age inspired by inspired by brain imaging, especially, images of spatial memory regions, networks and cells.

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An elite jury led by honorary chair and pioneering neuroscientist, Dr. Michael Merzenich, will select one individual and one group submission as winners to be announced in May. The selected concepts will be actualized into blown glass art sculptures by the venerable glass blower Luke Jerram. The glass installations will be exhibited  in cities across the U.S.

Dr. M. A. Greenstein of the George Greenstein Institute.
“We chose to use glass-blown art for the first challenge because it illustrates the fluidity, plasticity, and teamwork needed to activate and develop a brain-aware mind,” says Dr. Greenstein. "We’ve entered the brain age, so it’s time for us to draw back the curtain and reveal the workings of our beautiful brains, minds, and deep selves to empower children and adults to use their imagination, generate new ideas, and grow their brains.”

“In celebration of Brain Awareness Week and all of our brains, the GLASSIFY! Challenge comes at the perfect time,” said Dr. Michael Merzenich, co-founder and chief scientific officer of Posit Science, and Professor Emeritus, UCSF. “I’m honored to be involved in this exciting new project to continue showcasing the wonder of our brains and the importance of keeping them healthy throughout our lives.”

More information, including a teacher's packet for classroom submissions, is available at






Faith Brynie, Ph.D, is a scientific and medical writer. She is the author of Brain Sense (Amacom, 2009).


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