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The Mind of Janelia

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The Mind of Janelia uses engaging prose, fun facts, and simple yet playful drawings to explain Janelia’s science.
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When Janelia opened in 2006, HHMI wanted a way to help the local community and others understand the science that would be done on campus. As a result, the Institute’s Communications staff created The Mind of Janelia — a 40-page primer explaining basic concepts in genetics, neuroscience, imaging, and computational biology in an entertaining and easy-to-understand manner. 

Written by Jennifer Michalowski and illustrated by Peter Arkle, the 5×8-inch book uses engaging prose, fun facts, and simple yet playful drawings to help readers grasp complex scientific concepts. For example, one section explains that a single cubic millimeter of human brain tissue contains about 20,000 neurons, and drives the point home with a drawing showing the actual size of a cubic millimeter. The book also features cameos from several of the first scientists to join Janelia, including Gerry Rubin, Julie Simpson, Eric Betzig, and Eugene Myers, complete with sketches of the researchers by Arkle.

The Mind of Janelia was distributed to the more than 3,000 people attending Janelia’s open house on October 7, 2006. HHMI continued to receive requests for the book – and distribute copies at Janelia’s regular public lectures – over the next several years.