The Giant Walkthrough Brain

The Giant Brain

In 1972, neurosurgeon Joseph Bogen argued that a giant walkthrough brain should be constructed. He imagined a 60 storey high building, a science museum of the human brain, built to educate large numbers of people by taking them on guided tours inside.

A giant walkthrough brain, as charming and audacious as it was, was never built. The cost makes it unlikely that a physical version will ever be erected, but modern computer technology and advances in computational human anatomy models provide another way: the exploration of a three-dimensional virtual human brain.

The Giant Walkthrough Brain has won the 2105 Canadian Science Writers’ Award for Science Communication.

“The Giant Walkthrough Brain” is an innovative, engaging, public science communication project aimed at taking a live audience on a musically driven, larger-than-life virtual tour of the human brain. “The Giant Walk Through Brain” is both a live theatrical performance and a multimedia project, including dramatic, 3-D computer animations and live, original music.

It’s an hour-long tour of the brain; it’s an introduction to a serious of famous personalities, all of whom taught us something crucial about the brain and it is a musical production with songs written and performed by The Free Radicals. All the while, a vivid, anatomically correct and detailed model of the brain appears on a huge screen behind the band. And the audience travels through it.

This project has a staff: I work with Trevor Day of MRU and all the Free Radicals, Dr. Christian Jacob and his team in computing science at the U. of Calgary, and Tatiana Karaman, a member of that team but also the ‘driver of the bus’.

First presented July, 2014 at The Banff Centre

World Premiere at Beakerhead 2014. Sold-out Telus Spark two nights. 

1 Bogen, J.E.: “A Giant Walk-through Brain”. Bull. LA. Neurol. Soc. 37:131 1972