Corona radiata by Harry MacKay

Corona radiata by Harry MacKay

Co-winner of the Michelangelo (University & College Students) category at the 2013 Brain & Mental Health Art Show.

The subcortical white matter is responsible for all of the long-distance communication that takes place within the brain. The fact that our brains are capable of anything at all has as much to do with this connectivity as it does the structural and chemical properties of the neurons that are being connected. So named for its resemblance to a radiating crown, this structure has been an object of artistic interpretation from the days of crude dissection to the current work at the Human Connectome Project. I fashioned this piece from an outdated pharmacology textbook.

We are nothing more than the sum of our connections, and by that I mean to include the anatomical ones that link adjacent neurons as well as the invisible ones that connect us to each other. We can’t assume that the connections are analogous, but it does seem reasonable to suppose that sophisticated reciprocal communication is a unifying principle that governs our affairs at all levels.

About The Artist

Harry MacKay is in the second year of his PhD in the Carleton University Neuroscience Department.

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