The beauty of neurons

Two Pyramidals, enamel on composition gold, Greg Dunn, 2010

Wired: When Greg Dunn finished his Ph.D. in neuroscience at Penn in 2011, he bought himself a sensory deprivation tank as a graduation present. The gift marked a major life transition, from the world of science to a life of meditation and art.

Now a full-time artist living in Philadelphia, Dunn says he was inspired in his grad-student days by the spare beauty of neurons treated with certain stains. The Golgi stain, for example, will turn one or two neurons black against a golden background. “It has this Zen quality to it that really appealed to me,” Dunn said.

What he saw under the microscope reminded him of the uncluttered elegance of bamboo scroll paintings and other forms of Asian art, and he began to paint neurons in a similar style.

See more of these paintings at Greg Dunn Design.

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1 thought on “The beauty of neurons

  1. DE Teodoru

    I got my start in neurosciences trying to understand Soviet sensory deproivation mind-control; and from there I went to do studies showing that TOTAL somatic sensation loss is better for motor control than partial sesation loss– making residual inputs so noisy that the basal ganglia “paralyze” movement– a critical issue for post-stroke paralysis. Taub took it quite far showing that they could retrain a stroke paralyzed limb no matter how long it had been paralyzed. Yet, as this fellow showed, sensory blocking so as to get to know the same internal you that guides you when you are not sensory-guided is critical. Already, neurobiologists advise to “go with your feeling” rather than your thinking because your uncoscious brain is an incredibly more competent info processor.

    It therefore seems a great idea to knew you inner homunculus that knows everything you know and much, much more!

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