When I entered Oberlin
College in 1962, I fully intended to take up a career in neuroscience;
but was weaker than I would have wished in chemistry and calculas
(there was no neuroscience department at the time). I switched
majors to poly sci, and became a lawyer instead. It was, after
all, a family profession shared with my father, Federal Administrative
Law Judge Walter L. Fry, and uncle, Akron Attorney Elmer Fry.
But when I retired from the practice in 1987, and took up weaving,
I ultimately returned to the study of neuroscience--if only to
weave designs based on the physical structures of the brain.
See The Woven Brain in the collection galleries of DMOMA.
My original source of images
was the web, especially The
Human Brain found
at the University of Iowa's Virtual Hospital. Later, my younger
daughter Zibby, a chem grad from Oberlin (both daughters are
highly-gifted in the fields of biochemistry, molecular biology
and quantum physics), told me about the collection in the neuroscience
department, a gift of noted neuroanatomist Sanford
Palay. I arranged
to see the three complete series of Loyez-stained sections. An
extraordinary collection, the sagittal series had been used by
Yakovlev and Angevine in the text: The Human Cerebellum. An
Atlas of Gross Topography in Serial Sections. Boston: Little,
Brown & Company, 1961.
More recently, when my
mother, Frieda M. Fry, suffered a subdural hematoma, I obtained
all of her CT scans, together with an earlier MRI; and purchased
an American Medical Sales three panel viewbox to study them.
Added to these resources were two reference books: Sptizer and
Whitlock, Atlas of the Visible Human Male (National Library
of Medicine). Boston: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 1998 and
Duane E. Haines. Neuroanatomy: An Atlas of Structures, Sections
and Systems. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins,
My ultimate goal was a
new series for the woven brain with a full representation of
the brain, bottom to top; and I wanted it to be my own brain--a
neuroanatomical self-portrait, as it were!
My dream was finally realized
when I enrolled in a psychiatric study conducted at Waisman
Center of the
University of Wisconsin, Madison; using a 3.0
Tesla GE SIGNA MRI,
recently upgraded to the EXCITE hardware platform.
During the first half of
2005, I made four trips to Waisman Center--500 miles distant
from Cleveland, Ohio --for the scans, each taking several, sometimes
agonizing, hours. Four-thousand miles of interstate driving,
punctuated by nearly 12 hours of rigid confinement in a clattering,
banging tube, unable to scratch my nose or cough, just to obtain
my treasured source material.
The trips were well worth
the nearly exhausting effort; and I now have a fair representaion
of my own brain--and the movies which you are invited to view by clicking on the axial brain scan icon above.
You can view, in QuickTime format, a brief narrative history of the project HERE and read the text of that narrative HERE.
And for the future? I am always seeking the opportunity to participate in new brain imaging research, particularly in the area of neuroplasticity of the aging brain (I am 62 years of age at this writing); and physiological/hormonal correlates of human creativity.
Is it true (as some suggest) that manifestations of creativity (or the creation of novelty) is a stratagem designed to benefit gene propagation, and the reverse in recursive cycles; and how is the process mediated through smell, sight and touch? And does maintaining creativity and "romantic" human contact, independent of other factors, forestall or alleviate aging of the mature brain?
W. Logan Fry
October 25, 2005
Revised: April 24, 2007