Exhibition “The Art of the Brain”
At the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, opened on the occasion of the Max Planck Day 2018
Like many structures in nature, the brain – in essentially any species – possesses an intriguing beauty. One of its striking features is the combination of order (as symmetries and regularities, most noticeable at an intermediate magnification) with an almost chaos-like complexity, particularly when viewed at high magnification.
An appreciation of these distinct features requires the display of high resolution images covering the substantial regions of the brain. We decided to make this the common theme of a new exhibition that will be revealed at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt on the occasion of this year’s Max Planck Day: to show the brain‘s complexity by displaying brain regions or complete sections using very high resolution – and thus very detailed – images. Even with automated modern microscopes the acquisition of these micrographs, which are composites of typically thousands of individual images, can take hours to days. The individual “frames” are then combined using computational alignment techniques to yield seamless images.
The choice of samples was dictated by the research in our institute. As such, the imaged structures are not always brains, but are always related to the investigation of brain function, be it through the use of cultured nerve cells, the investigation of the motor system of camouflaging sepia or the detailed reconstruction of brain tissue using serial-sectioning electron microscopy. The images are thus a representative cross-section of the work being done in our institute.