Neuroscience And Art Intertwine In This Brain-Bending Illustration

One of 10 award-winning science visualizations from the 2015 Vizzies

Matteo Farinella

Last spring, London neuroscientist-​turned-​cartoonist Matteo Farinella published Neurocomic, a graphic novel about a man who falls into a brain. In this illustration from the book, Farinella uses a forest metaphor to depict brain cells and neurons as a dense, sprawling network of intertwined tree roots and branches. “The brain is very complex–there are billions of neurons connected in ways that we are only beginning to understand,” Farinella says. Paul Lipton, a neuroscientist at Boston University, notes the image illustrates the brain’s structural diversity. “The brain is indeed a forest,” he says, “whose trees, or neurons, are its defining feature.”

“Neuroforest” won the Expert’s Choice and People’s Choice awards for Illustration at the 2015 Vizzies. See the rest of the winners here.

This article was originally published in the March 2015 issue of Popular Science, under the title “The 2015 Vizzies.”