The Illustrated Brain

Anatomist Santiago Ramon y Cajal was the first to see–and illustrate–what neurons really do. His exquisitely detailed drawings changed our understanding of the brain and nervous system. Cajal relentlessly pursued his microcopic study of animal tissues, leading to an essential discovery: Brain signals jump from cell to cell rather than flow through a continuous web of fibers, as was believed at the time.

Discover Magazine has a fascinating (and beautiful) gallery of illustrations of neurons and neural tissue by the Nobel Prize-winning Cajal. Amazing stuff, especially since he made his discoveries armed only with curiosity and a microscope.


Colour Perception Illusion

From the Perceptual Science Group at MIT:

All of the small bars within each pattern are actually the same color (i.e., all of the blue segments are the same color blue, all of the red segments are the same color red, and all of the small grey bars are the same color grey). The lightness differences you are experiencing are massive illusions. A theory of what’s underlying the lightness illusions in this figure is described in a paper to appear in as special issue of Perception on “Contextual effects on color appearance.”

Really fascinating stuff, especially if one plans on doing any colour knitting.