If the idea of scalpel-wielding 12-year-olds or trays of sheep brains makes you feel a tad bit uneasy, just relax. It's all part of Brainworks, a daylong annual event at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Dr. Keith Black, chairman of Cedars-Sinai's neurosurgery department, created the program in 1998 to spark kids' interest in careers in medicine and the sciences.
Outliers: Cedars-Sinai program aims to foster budding brainiacs
This year, 140 seventh- and eighth-graders from several local middle schools examined brain tumor cells under a microscope, performed virtual surgery on foam skulls, handled sheep brains and performed laser experiments. The students were selected for the event, now in its 13th year, based on their achievements and interests in science, according to a news release. Black, who also heads Cedars-Sinai's Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute, published his first scientific research paper at age 17, winning the Westinghouse Science Award. “Every day these kids are shown how glamorous it is to be a rock star or a movie star or a professional athlete,” Black said in a hospital newsletter. “We want to show them that science can be exciting too. It's not just about showing them how fascinating the brain can be, but also about helping them realize that the potential of their own brains is unlimited.”
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