Inner Space: visualising the earth, mind and body

14 August 2013

On Thursday 15 August as part of National Science Week, leading researchers from the University of Sydney and Garvan Institute will discuss the transformational contribution visualisation techniques make to science and medicine.

For over 2000 years, artists have illustrated the intricate structure of the body to record its pathologies and represent medical procedures. Techniques for visualisation continue to revolutionise science and medicine when used in anatomy and pathology and in their application to data and complex systems.

The researchers will discuss how visualisation reveals the unifying structures of nutritional flows between the earth, the body and the mind. They will outline how it creates multidisciplinary approaches to research, preventative health and clinical treatment.

Professor John Crawford, Head of Sustainability and Complex Systems, Judith and David Coffey Chair, Charles Perkins Centre, will discuss how the geometry of nature has evolved over time through a common set of self-organising principles that help the resulting forms grow and adapt according to environmental cues.

In particular, Professor Crawford will show how visualisation enables understanding of the complex geometry of the inner space of soil. He will reveal the internal architecture of a leaf and how soil works through a constantly flowing relationship between the living and the dead.

Professor Ian Hickie, Professor of Psychiatry and Executive Director of the Brain and Mind Research Institute, will provide insights into the links between a person's inner space and sense of self and the complex environmental and social systems in which they are embedded.

While much of psychology and mental health throughout the 20th century focused on developing personal narratives, there has also been a very strong tradition of visual representations of internal states and their relationships with external systems.

Professor Hickie will discuss a social program in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and an artwork that aptly describes the complex systems at play. He will also present visualisations used to understand brain research.

Dr Kate Patterson, Biomedical Animator, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, has for the past five years worked with scientists, doctors and veterinarians to create images and visual stories about science and medicine. She is currently working on a 3D animation called Cancer is not just one disease.

The project uses research discoveries and the tools of cinematography, storyboarding, graphic design and sound engineering to tell science stories.

This event is supported by Inspiring Australia.

Event details

What: Inner Space, Visualising the Earth, Mind and Body 

When: 6 to 7.30pm, Thursday 15 August

Where: Lecture Theatre 101, New Law Building, Camperdown Campus 

Cost: Free

Book now online 

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