Sunday, March 05, 2006

Exhibits & Events

Get Your Body In Motion Down To BODIES…The Exhibition
By Lauren Mills

“Girls are smarter than boys! Girls are smarter than boys!” a group of elementary girls chant in the school yard. “No way! Boys are much smarter!” a boy screams back in defense. Although neither side has any evidence, BODIES…The Exhibition does.

Girls brains are 2.5% of their body weight whereas boys brains are only 2%. Whether you are a girl or a boy, you will be struck by real preserved bodies doing real life things when you first walk into the exhibition. One body in running stance clenches a football tightly by his side, his bicep muscles flexing as he bypasses the invisible opposing team. Another jumping with a basketball above his head, his eyes look up at a promising shot. And no. That was not a typo. These bodies do have eyes.

Most of them even have nose hair and eyebrows. Yes, it is a bit creepy. It is even a tad nauseating. I would recommend waiting thirty minutes after eating before entering the main doors on South Street to avoid nausea. After this walk through, you will lose your appetite. However, you will gain new knowledge and jog your memory of the facts you learned in high school science class. I found the fun facts on the walls to be the most interesting information that I have read in any museum or show.

Things like “A hip joint often withstands spans 400 pounds of force in everyday activity.” I personally would never think that a hip could endure such mass! Another reads “Every drop of blood in the body passes through the heart once a minute.”

What? How is that possible? Especially after seeing the corrosion cast blood vessels, I know for a fact we have a lot of blood in our bodies. Things must be moving pretty fast inside of us if every drop of blood is passing through the heart at that rate. Science was never and never will be my subject.

I always thought human anatomy was interesting, but I just could not grasp all the terms and processes that occur inside of us. With a little bit of visual aids I could have understood much easier, and that is why I think if I had walked through and studied everything in the exhibition five years ago I could have passed my anatomy exam without even opening the textbook.

As I walked by this year and read each little face card, I was hit with information that I had long forgotten. Facts like there are three types of muscle tissue in our bodies. The skeletal tissue moves bones, and the cardiac tissue moves the heart while the smooth tissue moves food, blood and fluids. Facts like these were once memorized but quickly faded. After my trip to BODIES my mind is revitalized. Each room had something interesting to offer.

Caitlin Holland, a senior at Loyola New Orleans University, had a particular favorite section. “The fetuses! Some of them were so tiny. They looked like little gerbils,” she said. The fetus room had a large sign on the outside, cautioning the disturbing displays. The sign was a good idea, for I was quite disturbed. However, after reading a sign like that I had to see for myself what was behind the wall. It was definitely a sight to see. Like the fetus room, there is another room that seems to spark a lot of discussion. This room displays webs of blood vessels floating in glass displays of water.

A process called Corrosion Casting was used for this display. Blood vessels were injected with colored polymer to harden them. Then the blood tissue was chemically removed, revealing the delicate matrix that transports our blood. The room is dark and each display case is illuminated, showing what looks like fragile blue and red spider webs. It is mesmerizing.

“It’s like a fun science class field trip,” Tyler Wildman, a senior at Gettysburg said. “The pictures in text books could never compare to this.” Unlike other exhibitions and museums, Bodies has something that everyone can relate to, and it happens to be the focus of the whole showcase: The Human Body. Two teenage girls stand over a display case holding bones. One girl points to a bone in the center. “That’s what I broke when I was playing softball!” she exclaimed.

The excitement lit up her face as she retold the tragic sliding incident to her friend. Everyone has a story to tell about their bodies and going to BODIES is a great way to let those stories out. Just make sure to bring a patient friend who doesn’t mind hearing the story again.

BODIES…The Exhibition is enjoyable for people of all ages. You learn an extraordinary amount of new information about your body and you also get to physically see everything that is inside of you right now. After spending a couple hours walking through the exhibition, I had a thought as I hopped on the escalator making my way out: I need to get a full body scan.

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