Public invited to dissect pig brains as part of Manchester Science Festival 2013

By Culture24 Reporter | 11 October 2013

More than 70 pig brains, assembled by neuroscientists at the Museum of Science and Industry, will be made available for public dissections in a night of events exploring the dark side of the cortex at this year’s Manchester Science Festival.

A photo of a woman wearing scientific clothing inspecting a brain on a table with forceps
Marieke Navin, the Director of Manchester Science Festival, inspects pig brains collected for dissection at Brains Bits© Chris Foster / MOSI
The surgical open table, titled Brain Bits, follows a “late-night extravaganza” which promises to reveal the “more disturbing” aspects of the brain. Hallucinations, forgetfulness, perception and deception are among the themes, explored in talks and audio-visual experiences.

Interaction designer Katrin Baumgarten tells the stories of people who have battled with episodes of psychosis, interpreting these tales with light, sound and immersive orbs allowing visitors to witness their internal narrators.

Stuart Allan, from the University of Manchester team behind the porcine lobes, says participants will be able to discover the inner workings of the brains.

“This is a unique opportunity for the public to handle a real mammalian brain and to take part in a guided dissection that will highlight the main functions of different parts,” he explains.

“Alongside the brain dissection will be an exciting range of hands-on activities to demonstrate brain function in health and disease.”

Other events include a discussion on the prospect of brain scanners reading the human mind, a contemplation of the similarities between brains and computers and poetic responses to the museum’s current Brains: the Mind as Matter exhibition, which will be open late on selected evenings.

  • Dark Matters takes place on November 1, Brains Bit takes place on November 2. Advance booking recommended. Visit for more details and the full line-up. Sponsored by Siemens.

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