SciAm Mind Calendar: September/October 2009

Museum exhibits, conferences and events relating to the brain


7 When artists, anthropologists and neuroscientists gather at The Brain Unravelled in London through Sep­tember 19, their creative efforts will range from paintings to performances to mixed-media works. In addition to the ­exhibition, which includes a children’s area, the event offers a daily program of film screenings, concerts, artist talks and lectures by renowned scientists. Informed by the latest research, the speakers will delve into the relation between brains and minds, plumbing the deepest reaches of human experience: our consciousness.

9 Charles Darwin, in his 1871 book The Descent of Man, provoked his contemporaries by suggesting not only that our physical traits had evolved over time but also that our mental faculties had not always been as keen as they are today. At the conference Evolution of Brain, Behaviour & Intelligence in Cambridge, England, international scientists will discuss advances made since Darwin’s time, drawing on results from species as diverse as unicellular organisms and Neandertals. Darwin biographer James Moore will deliver the keynote lecture.
Cambridge, England

12 In Huntington’s disease, genetic mutations cause a protein known as Huntingtin to become toxic to the brain, leading to movement disorders, problems swallowing and speaking, and eventually dementia and death. Hundreds of researchers and clinicians will convene in Vancouver at the 2009 Congress on Huntington’s Disease to discuss advances in our understanding of the disorder as well as the latest results from experimental treatments.
Vancouver, B.C.

24 Will neuroscience transform national security? Is a brain-dead person alive or dead? Could new findings in brain science undermine moral and criminal responsibility? These are a few of the controversial questions that experts will take on at BRAIN Matters: New Directions in Neuroethics, a cross-disciplinary conference hosted by the Novel Tech Ethics research team at Dalhousie University.
Halifax, Nova Scotia


1 As many as half of us may suffer from a mental disorder at some point in our life. Added to the burden of illness is the social stigma that people with mental health problems face. The Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival, sweeping over the country until October 22, tries to raise positive awareness about these issues through a series of concerts, film screenings and theater performances. This will be the third year for the festival, which is the largest of its kind in the world.

8 Ancient wisdom and modern neuroscience will collide at Mind and Life XIX, a two-day conference presided over by the Dalai Lama himself. Exploring the emerging intersections among their different fields, a panel of educators, scientists and contemplatives will discuss ways to promote personal and societal health. The Mind and Life Institute’s ultimate goal? To inspire a view of education that will “create compassionate, engaged, and ethical world citizens.”
Washington, D.C.

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