Biology, Pre-Med Clubs Explore Body Worlds at Franklin Institute

By Purnell T. Cropper | April 23, 2010

On Sunday, April 11, a group of students from the Biology Club and Pre-Med Club went on an excursion to the Franklin Institute to see the amazing Body Worlds 2 exhibit. There are four touring exhibits, and this one specifically showcased the human brain. The students spent their time examining the cases displaying natural and artificial joints and healthy organs vs. ones affected by disease.

“The most powerful display was two human brains side by side, one healthy, the other afflicted with Alzheimer’s,” reports Rachel Palis. “And, of course, spread throughout were the fascinating entire bodies that were set in dramatic poses.”

Many of the bodies were in sport positions such as swinging a baseball bat, hanging on gymnast rings, skateboarding, as well as ice skating. Also on display was an entire camel with its baby.

“A few of the students were talking to the curatorial staff and found out what it takes to make each of the displays,” notes Palis. “All specimens in Body Worlds exhibitions are preserved by the revolutionary process of Plastination, invented by anatomist Dr. Gunther von Hagens. This process of plastination preserves the bodies by replacing water and fat with certain plastics, sealing the body to stop the decay.” They also learned it takes more than 1,500 hours to prepare each body for display, depending on the pose, and for the camel, it took more than three years to complete it. “All in all it was a fun and exciting day,” she adds.