Discover LA: Body Worlds

The human body is a remarkable thing. Body Worlds: Pulse is an exhibition at the California Science Center that shows a comprehensive and informative view of what our anatomy looks like and how it works. Over 200 plastinated specimens are on display, with full human bodies posed to be playing football, doing the splits, dancing, doing yoga, and playing cards. There are translucent slices of the brain with tumors and hemorrhages, as well as plastinated mappings of the nervous system and blood vessels.

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A smoker’s lung with a cup of tar produced by smoking 20 cigarettes per day annually

Before visiting, I assumed that Body Worlds would be entirely focused on anatomy. But to my pleasant surprise, the exhibition included a wealth of information on various illnesses, the psychology of decision making, obesity, injuries, and the reproductive process. Explanatory placards detailed the dangerous effects on the body from smoking, eating unhealthy foods, and drinking alcohol. These were accompanied by powerful visuals such as a smoker’s lung and leg, a diseased heart, and a liver with cirrhosis to show how the body reacts to harmful substances.

Body Worlds also explained how scientists preserved the specimens on display through the process of plastination, which was invented by the German anatomist Dr. Gunther von Hagen. Plastination is a method of preserving organic matter by replacing fat and water with plastics. It is a valuable educational tool used by museums, medical schools, and veterinary schools worldwide.

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Mapping of the nervous system

Whether you’re interested in the process of plastination, human anatomy, health, psychology, physiology, or simply what the insides of our bodies look like, Body Worlds: Pulse is a must-see exhibition. It is not only a fascinating look at ourselves; it also serves as a powerful health warning of the consequences of mistreating our bodies.

Don’t wait–it’s only on display in Los Angeles until February of 2018. And while you’re at the Science Center, check out the Endeavor space shuttle for free with your Body Worlds admission ticket. 

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