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  1. Brain Art Competition Puts A New Spin On Neuroscience

    The human body has long been regarded as a work of art with renditions of the human form dating as far back as art itself. But new imaging techniques have put a different spin on the parts of the body that you can't normally see, taking organs like the brain from secret to sensational as they are better represented in art. The first ever Brain Art Competition was held this year, to celebrate and draw attention to improved imaging techniques in addition to the abstract ways better understanding of the brain can lead to artistic inspiration.

    The brain child of Daniel Margulies of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, the competition was organized by the Neuro Bureau, an online open neuroscience forum. The competition received 55 entries in four categories: 3-D brain renderings, representations of the brain's connections, abstract illustrations and humor. Twenty judges picked the best entry for each category, and the winners were announced at an event at the National Art Museum of Quebec on June 28th. In an interview with Scientific American, Marguiles said:
    "This whole thing started out as a joke in a bar. We knew of other neuroimaging data competitions in our respective fields, and we wondered, 'What could we do that would bring everyone to the table, even artists?'"
    Check out the artwork below.

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  2. Adaptive Optics Sees Eye Rod Cells Clearly

    Adaptive Optics (AO), the technology used by astronomers to study distant stars and galaxies clear of distortion has been used by scientists to study the cellular structure of the living eye, clear of the distortion posed by the outer eye. The researchers, from the University of Rochester, Marquette University, and the Medical College of Wisconsin, had to improve the design of non-invasive AO imaging systems. They did just that, pushing the resolution of AO to nearly 2 microns (1/1,000 of a millimeter), which is the approximate diameter of a single rod in the human eye. There are two types of photoreceptor cells in the eye, rods and cones. Using their AO system with the higher resolution the researchers were able to clearly view even the smallest cone cells which are found at the center of the retina (in the foveal center.) The researchers also report that this is the first time that rods have been clearly and directly imaged in vivo (within a living eye).

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