Travel is about exploring which in turn boosts one’s confidence and gives one insight into the way the world works. I recently pushed this definition to the limit as I visited the Body Worlds: Pulse exhibit at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. This time I explored me, or more specifically my body. Perhaps I should preface this story by saying I’m not a science major, and I managed to avoid biology through high school and college. I’m more a phyics and mathematics type. On the other hand, I do appreciate learning something new, and this exhibit certainly is a new take on the human body.
Before you read any further, let me say that the exhibit consists of real human bodies that have been plastinated. This may not be for everyone.
How often do we take our muscles for granted? Do we pay much attention to ourselves, unless we’re sick? This exhibit is a wake up call to help us appreciate what a wonderful system we have. The first part of the event deals with basics: bones, and muscles.
I found this section fascinating; at last I was seeing what has been invisible to me. This area of the exhibit gave me a concise yet thorough study of all the various body systems. I had no idea how many arteries and blood vessels are in the head alone.
No wonder a migraine is so painful! And this also explains why we turn red when we blush. The veins dilate, allowing more blood to flow through them to the face. It’s time to be kinder to my face and head. I wouldn’t want to tamper with that network.
In many ways that was the message of this exhibit. Take care of your body! One was constantly shown examples of things like disease, old age, and injury. Some of this was basic and not too shocking. As I get up there in years, I have begun to wonder when I too will need some replacement part. Hip and knee replacement seems to be one of the usual things needed later in life.
So that’s what a new knee would look like. I think it’s amazing that doctors can now do such things.
As to preventive care, there were plenty of signs and warnings. Of course I had heard them all: heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and obesity. It was shocking to see what these conditions do to the body, but perhaps the most surprising for me was smoking. Yes, I know this is old news but never before had I seen a human lung.
In the poor image above are real lungs. The white or light colored one on the top left is healthy. The black, set in the center, belonged to a smoker. I had no idea that the lungs turned black! Yes, I’ve heard of black lung disease but I thought it was figurative. Wow, that was an eye-opener. The lungs at the bottom left of the photo have emphysema. Don’t get that. It destroys your lungs making it impossible to breath. By the way, the black stuff in the cup is tar. I think it said this is the amount one accumulates from smoking a pack a day for a year. Don’t quote me on that.
Lest you think me ghoulish, let me add that there were some beautiful displays. Of course they did involve the human form and musculature but they were lovely just the same. One of my favorites is this quirky poker game.
I do believe there’s some cheating going on there.
The Body Worlds: Pulse exhibit is on display through February 20, 2018. This is a timed-ticket event, but once you have your admission to Body Worlds it includes admission to the rest of the Science Center. It is a big exhibit. I don’t know the estimated time to view it all, but I was there for three and half hours. I confess I can spend a great deal of time reading everything. This exhibit is open to everyone, and I did see children present. Note that it is anatomy and explicit. The area that deals with human reproduction is zoned off. There is a warning before you stumble in, and you can detour around it if you choose.
Body Worlds: Pulse is about real life and what we as humans are facing now. It shows us the body and how it works, but it also shows what happens when we abuse it with indolence, a modern diet, and stress. I intend to take heed.