The complexities of the brain are being explored through the medium of knitting in a new exhibition at the Francis Crick Institute in King’s Cross.

The exhibition looks at how the brain works, or at least what little we know about it, and how scientists, many working in the same building as the exhibition, are trying to uncover its mysteries.

One mystery is who thought of asking people to recreate the tiny neurons in the brain as large pink fleshy knitted ganglia. However, it is an idea that works as it shows the weirdness of parts of the brain in a very tactile manner.

The main exhibition is more scientific, telling the history of research into the brain and modern advances.

The topic is so vast that this is very much a beginner’s introduction, which is perfect as science can be overwhelming if not explained clearly without confusing labels attached to everything. It’s quite a visual exhibition, with plenty of appealing images and artistic interpretations, although I have no idea what the weird dropping pillow cases hanging over the middle of the display are.

I often find reading about the brain, or in this case, looking at an exhibition about it, to be rather a disconnected experience when my mind drifts onto thoughts about how the brain works. Here I am looking at bits of brain that create thoughts, while I am standing there thinking the thoughts created by the things I am looking at.

It’s the timeless question of what makes us… us. Here you can see some of the lumps of nerves and flesh that achive the making of you.

The exhibition, Hello Brain, is at the Francis Crick Institute until early December 2024 and is free to visit.

It’s right next to St Pancras Station, just behind the British Library, and is open Wednesday to Saturday from 10am to 4pm. It’s also open to 8pm on Wednesdays if you fancy popping in on the way home.


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