Body Worlds is back at the Science Museum, after first appearing in 2006. For those unfamiliar with the concept, Body Worlds is an exhibit of real human bodies that have been preserved through plastination, a process that takes about 1500 work hours (over about a year) per body. Some say this is ghoulish; I think it’s a beautiful look at the inner workings of the human body.
It never fails to amaze me just how much stuff is packed under our skin. And how it appears to be so incredibly delicate that it could fail at any moment, and yet so many people live for decades.
The bodies in the Body Worlds exhibit were donated through an intensive review program, with the intent being an ethically sound process where donors gave fully informed consent, and that consent was verified by a third party. An ethical board review of doctors and clerics found that Body Worlds follows the high levels of ethical practices recommended.
The exhibit does not release personal information such as name, residence, or cause of death. Instead, it shows us all the pieces and parts that make our bodies work, how they’re connected, how they work together, and what happens if we don’t take care of them.
Those are the lungs and heart of a smoker.
Bodies are presented whole, and in slivers that show in great detail all the internal organs, muscles, veins–everything.
The brain is presented in a variety of ways: whole, in parts, healthy and diseased (for those who have an Alzheimer’s patient in your families, seeing an Alzheimer’s brain is particularly touching).
Overcome any queasiness you have and go see this exhibit, and see if you don’t come out of it with a greater appreciation for the body you live in.
(All photos courtesy of Body Worlds)