An MIT Professor Shaved Her Head To Teach You Neuroanatomy

Illustration for article titled An MIT Professor Shaved Her Head To Teach You Neuroanatomy

A few seconds into this video, MIT neuroscientist Nancy Kanwisher pulls out a pair of scissors and—is she really, oh god she really is — cuts off all her hair. Kanwisher, best known for discovering a brain area for face recognition, gives one very memorable lesson in neuroanatomy.


The video is an introduction to your cortex. This “large pizza”-sized layer of brain tissue is scrunched up to fit right under your scalp, and it is responsible for all your higher brain functions. Reading? Thinking? Face recognition? Check check check.

Once Kanwisher’s hair all shaved off, the folds of the cortex are drawn onto her skull and a few areas are highlighted and explained. And yes, they even scanned her brain to make sure the highlighted areas of the brain are drawn in the exact position. Intrigued? There are many more videos about the brain at Nancy’s Brain Talks,


Holy Shit! Did she lose a bet, or something? I mean, I know that scientists and teachers are dedicated and stuff, but . . .

I can just hear her grad student talking to her before the shoot: “Oh yeah, this ink is *totally* washable!” (heh heh)