Uploading memories and sending emotions through a text message sounds like science fiction, but these were just a few of the topics highlighted at The South Florida Science Center and Aquarium’s annual benefit “The Future of the Mind – An Evening with Dr. Michio Kaku and the Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind” on Thursday, March 30. Mary Freitas, Elizabeth Gordon and Caroline Cummings Rafferty chaired the event.
More than 200 guests enjoyed the lively and interactive discussion by renowned scientist and author, Dr. Michio Kaku, whose presentation included information about being able to operate an exoskeleton through thoughts to give injured people the gift of mobility, such as returning veterans from the Middle East.
“That all sounds like something from the Iron Man comics, but it’s a reality,” Dr. Kaku said. He took questions from the crowd during the informal presentation.
During opening remarks, SFSCA board chairman Matt Lorentzen brought Lew Crampton, president and CEO of the Science Center, and his wife Kathleen up to the stage for a surprise announcement. He unveiled the plans to name the entrance of the Science Center the “Lew and Kathleen Crampton Science Exploration Gateway” to honor Crampton’s hard work over the last seven years turning the organization into a success story.
“I’m so honored and humbled by this gracious gesture,” Crampton said. “I am beyond excited for the future of the Science Center, and this benefit is opening up new possibilities that we have been dreaming about to open every mind to science.”
The evening raised more than $400,000 as the benefit kicked off fundraising for the Science Center’s latest expansion, a permanent exhibit called “A Journey Through The Human Brain,” which, when completed, will be one of the most advanced displays of the human brain. The Science Center will be renovating the current building to dedicate an entire wing to this latest addition. The exhibition will take a bottom-up approach to telling the story of the human brain, from the molecular and cellular level to the integrated circuitry that creates our hopes, fears and memories.
“This exhibit is exciting because we have to energize young people and fire up their curiosity about the brain,” said Dr. Kaku. “All of us, sitting on our shoulders, have the most advanced object in the known universe – the brain. We’re entering the golden age of decoding thoughts, and we want young people to understand this.”
The Science Center is teaming up with the Florida Atlantic University’s Brain Institute to make this plan happen. “We are looking forward to our partnership with the Science Center to make this vision a reality,” said Dr. Randy Blakely, the Executive Director of the FAU Brain Institute. “We hope to inspire young minds to dive even deeper into brain science, and this exhibit is the perfect way to get a picture of how the brain is built.”
Major sponsors of “The Future of the Mind – An Evening with Michio Kaku and the Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind” included Mr. and Mrs. Lew Crampton, Mr. and Mrs. Jeffrey Fisher, Mr. and Mrs. Matt Lorentzen, Mr. and Mrs. John Niblack, Mr. and Mrs. Bob Stiller, Mr. and Mrs. Mark Freitas, Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Gordon, and Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Rafferty, PNC Bank, KLX, Inc., The Stiles Nicholson Foundation, Modernizing Medicine, Mr. Mrs. Robb Allan, Mr. and Mrs. Rick Stone, Drs. Bonnie and Kenneth Davis, Mr. Dave Nuti, and Mr. and Mrs. James McCann.
The mission of the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium is to “open every mind to science” and the indoor/outdoor venue features more than 100 hands-on educational exhibits, a 10,000 gallon fresh and salt water aquarium- featuring both local and exotic marine life, a digital planetarium, conservation research station, Florida exhibit hall, Pre-K focused “Discovery Center,” an interactive Everglades exhibit and the 18-hole Conservation Course – an outdoor putting course with science-focused education stations. For more information on the new brain exhibit or other Science Center programming, please call 561-832-1988 or visit www.sfsciencecenter.org. Like the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium on Facebook and follow them on Twitter and Instagram @SFScienceCenter.