On March 16th 2013, scientists at the Centre for Brain Research engaged their ‘creative brains’ in an effort to raise interest in the brain and brain research.
Auckland Brain Day is a free public event and relies on CBR scientists to help the day run smoothly. The opportunity to contribute to Brain Day gave me the opportunity to engage my own creative neurons and think about brains outside of my own.
I am a PhD student at the CBR, where I am studying how neurons in the hippocampus talk to each other. I spend a lot of time thinking about neurons. However, rarely do I need to engage my own neurons and talk to other people about my research.
I was fortunate enough to be offered the role of ‘Social Media Coordinator’ for Brain Day 2013. This meant I was responsible for promoting the CBR and generating interest in our research via Twitter and Facebook. This gave me an excuse to read more about science and brain research, and think of creative ways to make this interesting to other people.
I was introduced to a whole new world of neuroscience that is not available to me in the lab. I discovered a group of journalists, science communicators, and scientists who just like talking about science. Most importantly, I looked beyond my own tiny area of research, and read stories about other types of neuroscience research very different from my own.
I personally believe that communicating about science is a useful exercise for any scientist. As a scientist-in-training, any opportunity to discuss neuroscience and research helps me potentiate my own thoughts on the topic. As you may know, ‘neurons that fire together, wire together’.
But I also believe that a successful scientist requires creative thinking skills and the ability to write a good story, and this years’ ‘creative brain’ theme was a great place for me to start. I feel that taking part in science communication events such as Brain Day has helped me strengthen these creative skills for my future career.
But as Saturday March 16th rolled around, I was pleased to step outside the online social media world and experience science communication in real life (or RL, as they say online).