In a previous post we reported the magnificent neuroscience artwork of Greg Dunn, a PhD in neuroscience specialized in both manually ‘painting’ neurons by blowing ink around on non-absorbent paper, and micro-etching, a technique that uses photolithography to make etchings on a micrometer scale. Lately, he has been devoting all of his energy to the latter and he creates these etchings in collaboration with his colleague Dr. Brian Edwards.
As a result, Greg Dunn has just announced a new piece of micro-etched art, called Self Reflected, for which he and his colleague spent years optimizing, experimenting and inventing new tools to accomplish their goal: to produce the most complex and detailed artistic depiction of the brain in the world, featuring an 8′ X 12′ gilded reflective micro-etching of a sagittal slide of the human brain.
Below are some work-in-progress images and beautiful color-coded shots of the final piece. The color-coding represents the connectivity latency between the roughly 500,000 individual neurons and their fibers, determined by the angle of light reflection that will ultimately animate the final micro-etched piece. Everything that is red will be seen from the left of the microetching, and as you walk to the right you will see orange, then yellow, green, blue, and violet.
To impose a scientifically correct animation of causal connectivity, Greg and Brain painted the neurons based on data from diffusion spectrum imaging and deep neuroscience research, and used algorithmic and mathematical simulations to link everything up. By doing this, they could take into account factors such as the action potential speed, bursting versus tonic behavior, axon diameter and degree of randomness in connectivity, which makes the piece even more mind-boggeling!
For a more comprehensive explanation and to fully appreciate the painstaking effort and meticulous detail that went into this work, please visit this website.
When the piece is finished it will be installed at the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia and there will be a public opening event on June 18th. So stay tuned for more updates on this awe-inspiring project!
All images are credited to www.gregadunn.com.