This October has been a bit manic. Mainly due to a local science festival.
I attended the Midlothian Science Festival to deliver a talk about Burke. This was great – I love talking about the most infamous criminal in Edinburgh because although everyone thinks they know the story, they never know it all. I’m not sure anyone knows it all, and they never will.
Burke continued to have an effect over the month as I got a request for his photo for a talk down south about body donation. You might think that that is a strange link but it was partly due to the actions of Burke and Hare (committing murder to supply medical school with bodies) that the 1832 Anatomy Act was passed by parliament. It’s this act that controlled how medical school obtained bodies and large parts of it are still in force today.
He also raised his head at a great project last week where a group of enterprising Spanish tour guides booked in for a session to ensure that they are telling the correct story about Burke and Hare. We are getting the facts out there slowly.
Another talk I gave at the festival was about the neuroscience of zombies. This was a really interesting talk to give. There had been months of research, watching zombie films, looking through history books etc. The concept was to take the characteristics of zombies and use classical neuroanatomy to try to work out which part of their brain had been damaged. The research brought home how much neuro anatomy we know because of the less than perfect design of the military helmet.
We talked about Broca, Wernicke, Holmes, Von Economo, Bodamer, Posner, cerebral ataxia, neglect, telegraphia, Patient Tan, Patient S and A, interspersed with movie clips and relating conditions to the behaviour of zombies. A bunch of teenagers sat for over an hour. It was great! Maybe not your typical engagement event but it seemed to work.
Its now only a couple of weeks until the next Anatomy Nights event – brains.
Tickets are available at ticketsource
Come and join me for a brain dissection!