Friday, May 31, 2013

Neuroscientist Addresses Zombie Science

Posted By on Fri, May 31, 2013 at 2:00 PM

CMUs Dr. Verstynen, neuroscience professor and zombie expert
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • CMU's Dr. Verstynen, neuroscience professor and zombie expert
On Monday, Carnegie Science Center puts the "science" in science fiction with a talk titled, “The Living Dead Brain: What Human Brains Teach us about Zombie Minds."

The Center’s Café Scientifique will open its doors to sci-fi geeks, neuroscience nerds and anyone else who has ever wondered, “Should I be preparing for a Zombie apocalypse?” The speaker is Dr. Timothy Verstynen, assistant professor in psychology and neuroscience at Carnegie Mellon University.

This discussion might leave participants weighing the nuances of that eternal question: Does sci-fi imitate science, or does science imitate sci-fi? That's because the traits that make zombies so iconic —their stiff lumbering stride, their inability to talk or experience pain — actually have some root in the scientific realm.

For Night of the Living Dead -heads, it’s that elusive quality that makes zombies so clumsily terrifying. For modern neuroscientists, these features can be explained as the result of a surreal convergence of neurological impairments.

This talk is hosted by the Science Center’s Café Scientifique, a program that calls in experts to give free anti-lectures where jargon is shunned and questions are encouraged. The Café Sci website asks participants to register by May 30, but walk-ins won’t be turned away. The talk starts at 7 p.m. and dinner items will be sold for attendees whose appetites are awakened by talk of the undead.

The Carnegie Science Center is Located at 1 Allegheny Avenue on the North Shore. For more information call 412-237-3400 or check out carnegiesciencecenter.org.

  • Carnegie Mellon University

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