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All in the mind – new exhibition to uncover secrets of the brain

16th May 2016

A new exhibition at the Life Science Centre will help us understand what’s going on inside our heads.

The Brain Zone, a new exhibition telling the story of the brain and how it works, revealing some of its secrets and exploring the techniques scientists use to study it, has opened at the Life Science Centre.

The exhibition was funded by the Wellcome Trust, one of the largest biomedical research charities in the world and was officially opened by its Chair, Baroness Manningham-Buller.

She said: “I am delighted that we supported the Brain Zone. It is an excellent exhibition. I learned a lot and I had great fun going round the imaginative and stimulating exhibits.”

Exploring everything from how messages are relayed in the brain to the role of emotions, the exhibition uses hands-on exhibits and activities to engage visitors. One of the highlights of the exhibition is a real human brain from Dr Gunther von Hagens’ Institute of Plastination in Germany.

Linda Conlon, Chief Executive at Life, said:  “The brain is endlessly fascinating and there is so much that we have still to find out about it. What we do know, however, is that everyone’s brains are wired differently and this is what we have set out for visitors to explore in the Brain Zone.”

Life has worked closely with a Scientific Advisory Board comprised of specialists from Northumbria, Durham, Newcastle and York Universities who advised on the scientific content of the exhibition.  

Linda Conlon added: “Thanks to our collaboration with the region’s universities, the Brain Zone is not only an exhibition, but also a working laboratory where scientists will engage with visitors on a wide range of brain-related topics. This will help inform their research and enable the public to find out more about the fascinating organ that is the brain.”

To celebrate the opening of the Brain Zone, Life is running a programme of special events. The programme kicks off with comedian Robin Ince on 3 May who will explore what kind of brain it takes to make a comedian, and whether shouting at people for money is really good for you.  

On 7 September, magician turned psychologist and broadcaster, Professor Richard Wiseman will explore the psychology employed by some of the world’s greatest illusionists, how to detect lies, and demonstrating why the hand is rarely quicker than the eye. To book tickets for these events, visit

Funding of £650k toward the £1m Brain Zone project was secured from a Capital Award from the Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation which aims to improve health by supporting bright minds in science, the humanities and social sciences, and public engagement.  It is one of the UK's leading funders of public engagement with science activities.

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