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On Friday 12 May the Oxford University Museum of Natural History opened its doors after hours for a night of neuroscience-inspired fun in partnership with Oxford Neuroscience.

NeuroNight was part of Brain Diaries, an exhibition and events programme that unlocks the mysteries of the brain’s development at each stage of life, from before birth until old age. Coinciding with Mental Health Awareness Week, NeuroNight both entertained and provided a unique insight into current research from the rapidly developing field of neuroscience.

Visitors sampled NeuroCocktails with Elizabeth Tunbridge and learnt about the science of sleep from Chris Harvey and colleagues from the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute. The 'Knit a Neuron' activity proved extremely popular, and Laughing Yoga gave visitors a welcome release of serotonin. Other people showcasing their work included representatives from research groups looking at neuroplasticity, speech, dopamine, and pain. Café culture with a difference was served up: visitors got a drink at the bar and selected a topic from the research menu to discuss with neuroscientists.

There was live music from global community Sofar Sounds, alongside an explanation from some of Oxford’s auditory neuroscientists about what is going on in the brain when we listen to music. The climax of the evening was a breathtaking live performance in the centre court by award-winning beatboxer Reeps One, whose specialised pattern of brain activity has been revealed in scans by neuroscientists.

With 96% of those surveyed rating the atmosphere as excellent or good, this public engagement event was a roaring success.