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Mindful : December 2013
WHAT EMOTION are you feeling right now? Where is it showing up in your body? Let your attention rest there for a little while. Find more on Twitter @mindinterrupter Two neuroscientists walk into a lab. They come out with a comic book. Neurocomic tells the stor y of a man who haplessly gets sucked into a human brain. Wandering through a tangled forest of neurons, he encoun- ters famous neuroscientists who choose to help (or not help) him escape. Matteo Farinella and Hana Roš wrote the comic book, with Farinella doing the illustra- tions. They spend their working days at the University College of London on computational neuroscience and analyzing brain cells, respectively. So why a fictional turn instead of a scientific one for Neurocomic? “Tex tbooks are boring,” says Farinella. “It’s all about the narra- tive,” says Roš, who admits to pet-naming neurons she has analy zed in the lab. “Read- ers become the characters traveling through the brain. So maybe they’ll be more likely to take in the actual science.” The pair crafted Neurocomic after receiving the People’s Award from the Wellcome When Art Meets Science Take a peek inside Neurocomic and check out a documentary about the project at mindful.org/ neurocomic Matteo Farinella and Hana Roš of the University College of London wrote and illustrated Neurocomic. Trust, an independent U.K . charity that funds research to improve health and the understanding of science. The aim of the book is to make the neurochemical workings of the brain more understandable for those who don’t often consider our gray mat ter. Initially, Farinella thought his interest in illustration was just a distraction from his neurosci- ence studies, but now he sees how impor tant sketching has been to the development of the field. One of the fathers of mod- ern neuroscience, Santiago Ramón y Cajal, who’s featured in Neurocomic’s first chapter, was himself a gifted ar tist. “He was the first one to describe the anatomy of the brain on a microscopic scale,” says Farinella. “He did that by looking down a microscope and drawing hundreds of beautiful illustrations of brain cells. If he hadn’t, maybe Cajal wouldn’t have made those discoveries.” Neurocomic will be available in the U.S. in January, pub- lished by Nobrow Press. ● NEUROCOMICIS©2013MATTEOFARINELLAANDHANAROŠ 16 mindful December 2013 now 16 mindful December 2013