Brain Awareness Event: Opticus Realm planned for campus

Attendees pose at the 2017 Brain Awareness Event.
(Photo courtesy of source)
Attendees pose at the 2017 Brain Awareness Event. (Photo courtesy of source)

Written by: Lindsay Beckwith

From March 23 to April 14, Southern Adventist University students will be able to experience others’ disabilities, feel different emotions with changing colors and study a group of hanging spheres only to see two-dimensional images appear by participating in an on-campus event called “Brain Awareness – Opticus Realm: Where Things Are Not What They Seem.”  The grand opening night is set to take place on March 23 at 6:30 p.m and will include light refreshments according to Sean Walters, assistant professor in the Physics and Engineering Department. 

Held in the John C. Williams Gallery in Brock Hall, the event will feature displays and stations where individuals can interact with visual images and illusions. The intention of these displays is to bring out and highlight the different functions of the brain, according to Walters. 

The event, meant to accompany Brain Awareness Week, is a product of collaboration between the School of Visual Arts and Design (SVAD), the Physics and Engineering Department and Student Support Services. 

“Brain Awareness Week brings awareness to brain and visual disorders like glaucoma, retinal detachment, visual processing and other disturbances,” Walters said.

Southern has participated in Brain Awareness Week for several years, hosting events around the week since 2011.

Brain Awareness Week is a national event, founded by the Dana Foundation. This year, it will occur from March 13 to 19. It is designed to increase awareness of the progress and benefits of research on the brain, according to Jim Wampler, director of Student Support Services. 

The Dana Foundation is an organization dedicated to advancing neuroscience. During this week, clinics, hospitals and universities all over the world participate in the celebration of the brain and the research being conducted on the organ.

“I am always excited about our brain awareness event. … Nothing compares to the jelly-like brain,” Wampler said.

According to Walters and Wampler, Opticus Realm was put together by a class of students and faculty in the winter semester of 2020, and their display was planned to be shown later that year. However, due to COVID-19, the opening was canceled. 

Two to three teams of students worked on and planned the design of the exhibit, most of whom are now graduated from Southern.

Now, the university plans to show the work of the graduated students and allow all students to enjoy the display during the gallery’s open hours. Faculty remain hopeful that the students who worked on the project will return to see Opticus Realm’s grand opening. 

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