Need a break from Ike? Come see Body Worlds 2

The Skateboarder on display at Body Worlds 2.

The Skateboarder on display at Body Worlds 2.

Today our guest blogger is Melinda Davenport, a representative from Body Worlds 2.

As my first official post on the BEYONDbones blog, I have to say this has been quite a wild past two weeks. Hope everyone is recovering from Ike slowly but surely.

If you’re interested in taking a break from the 24-hour Ike news coverage, come check out the new Body Worlds 2 and the Brain – Our Three Pound Gem exhibit at the museum. This is only the third stop for Body Worlds 2 and has already created quite a buzz amongst Houstonians.

Here’s a look at what folks that have seen the exhibit are saying:

“The most wonderful, fabulous and incredible display I’ve ever seen!”

“I loved it, and I am totally blown away by the intricacies of our amazing bodies.”
                                                          -Conroe, TX

“One of the most amazing events ever to grace my eyes. Gave my children and others a new idea to the concept of being a human!”
-Houston, TX

The cool thing is, you get to learn all about how our most important organ – the brain – functions and copes with illness and disease, and explore how brain performance can be enhanced. This time around, the exhibit incorporates 200 real human body specimens and 20 full-body specimens in dramatic life-like poses; healthy and unhealthy organs; body parts and slices – all preserved through plastination.

The Plastination process was invented by Dr. Gunther von Hagens, the creator of the Body Worlds exhibits. During Plastination, all bodily fluids and soluble fats are replaced with reactive resins and elastomers such as silicon rubber and epoxy through vacuum forced impregnation. After gas and heat, the specimens assume rigidity and maintain those infamous life-like dramatic poses.

Here’s my list of the must-see plastinates at the exhibit:

  1. The Skateboarder (shown above) – You’ll see what happens to your body when engaged in extreme sports and when you push your body to its limit.
  2. The Drawer Man – A unique look inside the complicated body from skin to intestines.
  3. The Exploding Man – The largest display in the exhibit featuring each and every organ.
  4. The Figure Skaters – Shows how elegant the muscles work for fine-tuned athletes.

The exhibit is considerably different than the Body Worlds that came to Houston in 2006 – in content and display – and is shown on two floors of the museum, so its definitely a sight to see! Body Worlds 2 is 50% larger than the last showing in Houston and has a detailed display of exactly how the human brain operates. After seeing Body Worlds 2, please feel free to add your comments below to let us and other museum-goers know what you thought of the exhibit.

Coming Sept. 12: BODY WORLDS 2 & The Brain

In 2006, over a half million people took an extraordinary journey into the human body in BODY WORLDS 3. Today, we are thrilled to announce that an all-new BODY WORLDS exhibition will debut at the Houston Museum of Natural Science on Sept. 12, 2008. Based on the latest discoveries in neuroscience, this new exhibition delves deep into one of the most mysterious – and most fascinating – organs in the human body: the brain.

Humans are unique among mammals chiefly because we have the capacity to contemplate ourselves – a capacity that stems directly from the human brain, the only organ that can examine itself. Inventor and anatomist Dr. Gunther von Hagens was inspired to utilize his Plastination technique to take visitors on a journey inside our minds to discover the functions and possibilities of this extraordinary organ. In his words:

“The brain is an amazing marvel of engineering. I wanted people to recognize what is known about this amazing gem inside our heads, and be awed by its possibilities and capacities.”

To Dr. von Hagens, the brain’s capacity for innovation is a source of wonder, informed by his own work in science: “I recall that first moment of clarity when seeing a specimen embedded in a polymer block, I wondered why the polymer was outside of the specimen, rather than inside the specimen, which would have allowed it to be stable and rigid, as well as easy to handle.”

This moment of clarity – like many others before it and many others sure to come after – resulted in something extraordinary. And, the development of Plastination is just one example of the amazing innovations the brain makes possible. Nanotechnology, robotics, genetics, pharmacology, alternative energy technology and on and on – it’s impossible to name all of the revolutionary new directions in which our brains are taking us into the future.

Join us this fall to discover how our brains work – and perhaps leave inspired to put yours to better use.

Below, check out a video preview of Gunther von Hagens’ BODY WORLDS 2 & The BRAIN – Our Three Pound Gem: The Original Exhibition of Real Human Bodies:

UPDATE: Curious about Plastination? Check out this Q&A with Dr. Gunther von Hagens.

Images and Video: © Gunther von Hagens, Institute for Plastination, Heidelberg, Germany, 2001 – 2008. All rights reserved.