Sunday, August 24, 2008

Body Worlds 2: The 3 Pound Gem

Yesterday my sister took me into Inner Harbor to the Maryland Science Center and we went to see the "Body Worlds 2" exhibit which was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. Body Worlds exhibits (there are currently 3, with 4 opening in October) are very contraversial because they contain bodies that have been plastinated. This is a special process which allows bodies to be prefectly preserved. The skin is then stripped from the bodies (in most cases, in some parts of it are left on) and you can see how the muscles, connecting tissues, circulatory system, nervous system, etc all work together. They pose the bodies in different positions so that you can see what your body looks like when you do those things. It is amazing and creepy at the same time. Some states have argued that you're stripping the corpses of dignity, while the man who invented it, argues that it's one of the best ways to promote anatomical understanding of the human body. But, the people who are plastinated gave consent and donated their bodies to the project, so legally I guess the states can't object.

There is an entire seciton of platinated fetus' so you can actually see embryonic/fetal development up through 28 weeks, and there is a plastinated pregnant woman too, whose skin and muscle tissues have been peeled back so you can actually see the fetus inside her stomach. Yes we have text books, yes we have videos, but seeing a body that has been plastinated was so much more informative. You can actually see and understand how everything works together.

It was really cool too to actually be able to see the organs and what they look like. In some glass cases they had normal organs and then organs that had been affected by diseases or tumors. They also compared a set of smoker's lungs to healthy ones, and even coal miner's lungs. That right there was enough to make my jaw drop. My grandfather was a coal miner, and I can't imagine him having lungs that look like that. Black lung was not just a term, it's true. It looked like somehow had painted the lungs black. The smoker's lungs were also disgusting. Dude, ditch the cigs and do yourself a favor.

They also had varying stages of things like heart disease, kidney disease, gall stones, breast cancer, liver cancer, cirrophis. All this stuff you read about and understand what it means, now you can see, and it's truly amazing. I know that the Catholic Church is not a big fan, but the way the bodies were presented, did not feel grotesque or demeaning at all. Had they placed the bodies in sexual positions, yes, I would agree with the church that it was pornographic and it was demeaning to the dead, but this was done very artfully and I thought it was amazing. This particular body world, is all about the brain, which is why the nerves etc were a big focus of this exhibit. If you have an opportunity to go, the exhibit closes on September 1. It is somewhat graphic, so if you're squeamish, don't do it, but if you'd like to see what your muscles look like when you do CrossFit, go. I thought of all of you and Jerry immediately when I saw one of the plastinated bodies. It was a male body positioned as if it was doing an Iron Cross on the rings. You really got a good sense of how tight your core needs to be, as well as your glutes and upper body to do something like that. It was awesome.

Go check out the Body Worlds 2 site at the Maryland Science Center if you are interested.

Maryland Science Center: Body Worlds 2


Adam said...

I saw this exhibit in Chicago last year. It really was amazing, truly a life-changing experience.

The Wigan Crossfitter said...

I missed it this year, no doubt it will return.

My friend raved about it for weeks.

Justa said...

I'm going to walk through eating a turkey drumstick just for fun!

Katie said...

Sorry Justa, no food or drink allowed... ;)

Katie said...

Steve, it was amazing... I think the one that opens in October is actually opening in London...