This beautiful drawing is today’s (late) #ScienceSunday post. It was done by the talented Tjallien (@brimstodial), a fine artist whose account I was very fortunate to stumble across one day. The intricate lines in her drawings reminded me of my cells, in particular the wiry cell skeleton (“cytoskeleton”) of my astrocytes. I sent Tjallien a DM asking to collaborate, and was super excited that she said yes! . We exchanged information, including that astrocytes are “star-shaped” cells with the web-like skeleton extending out from their round nucleus centres. I sent her some cell pics that I’d taken through my microscope, and a few weeks later she returned a bunch of beautiful drawings I will treasure forever. . These pictures are so special to me because they represent how valuable social media can be for bringing people together regardless of national borders, language, or profession. . They are also symbolic of the intersection between neuroscience and art that I think is very important. . Neuroscience inspires art: the brain and its cells are gorgeous! @ella_maru, a popular science illustrator for textbooks and publications, even posted recently about how much illustrators love drawing the nervous system. [Google Ramón y Cajal if you need more convincing.] . But art also inspires neuroscience. Humans are so unique in how we both create and interpret art, but how we are able to think so creatively is still a bit of a mystery. There is even a field called “neuroaesthetics” – studied by psychologists, neuroscientists, artists, art historians, and philosophers – that aims to answer questions like: how are we able to be artistic and perceive art? Why do we find certain things beautiful and is there an evolutionary explanation? Why do some pieces elicit an emotional response? . So while we look at art and feel calm and inspired, some neuroaesthetics researcher is trying to figure out what in that piece of art made us feel that way and what in our brain is causing that feeling. Because, after all, every human behaviour has underlying biological cause, even if we don’t fully understand it – yet.
- Collaboration: Instagram
- Science Sam Astrocyte post. https://www.instagram.com/p/BMiPjpIACiW/