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Getting physical with the brain

16 Ebrill 2012

Getting physical with the brain - web 1A-level physics students from St Mary’s Calne, Wiltshire looking through the bore of the MRI.

A level students have been given an insight into the role of physics in understanding the structure and function of the brain, courtesy of the Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC).

As part of International Brain Awareness Week, CUBRIC, in the School of Psychology opened its doors to A-level physics students.

"It’s all about the electricity and magnetism" was the tag-line as the students toured the Centre’s MRI, MEG, TMS and EEG labs. They got to see how ‘the right hand rule’, which dictates how a magnetic field is generated by an electrical current and vice-versa, is at the heart of everything that CUBRIC does.

The students took part in several hands-on practical sessions, including the chance to experience Lenz’s law with the ‘levitating aluminium disk’ in the MR scanner and inducing muscle twitches remotely by transcranial magnetic stimulation. The students had a chance for a detailed Question and Answer session with CUBRIC staff about career paths into research

Getting physical with the brain - web 2A student demonstrates Lenz’s law.

Professor Derek Jones of CUBRIC said: "Visits of this type are a really rewarding experience for us. Electromagnetism can be quite a dry subject at school, but to see the students’ faces light up when they see those same principles in practice is a great moment. It is important to keep attracting students into physics research, and we hope that our ongoing outreach activities to schools, will inspire the next generation of neuroimaging researchers."

Related Links

School of Psychology

Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre