This event has now finished.
  • Date and time: Tuesday 13 June 2023, 8pm to 9pm
  • Location: In-person only
    Ron Cooke Hub, Campus East, University of York (Map)
  • Admission: Free admission, booking required

Event details

Mind reading remains a popular and intriguing subject, in part, perhaps, because of modern mentalists such as Uri Gellar and Derren Brown.

But is mind reading really possible?

Since the concept was first conceived in the late 19th century, claims for the existence of clairvoyance have not been supported by published scientific evidence. Although science is yet to prove the ability of the brain to gain information about an object, person or location through means other than the known senses, recent research using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) technology has provided demonstrations of thought identification.

Doctors now use fMRI technology to gain insights into changes in brain function caused by traumatic brain injury, epilepsy, psychiatric disorders or neurodegenerative disease. Although fMRI data has become a useful tool in the surgical care of neurology patients, it is still relatively new, so that patients and their families wrongly fear this diagnostic tool. Let scientist Elisa Zamboni and Aneurin J Kennerley show you the safe and fun side of fMRI technology!

During this performance, fMRI technology will be pitted against a mind reader - the ultimate matchup between science and magic! Which will succeed in reading the mind of our willing audience live on stage? Get a glimpse of how our brains work, hear about the latest exciting scientific developments helping doctors understand the brain and be filled with wonder as we unlock the secrets of what makes you you.

Come along for a unique experience mixing magic, mentalism and fMRI research - and maybe have your mind read!

This performance is aimed at adults.

About the speakers

Elisa Zamboni grew up in a little village in the Italian Alps. With a strong passion for science and mathematics, she would always run off with a pile of books to the top of a mountain, to learn and dream of one day unlocking amazing mysteries behind our brains and minds. Since those days, she’s made it her mission to prove that a girl can be a brilliant scientist!

Elisa has since travelled a lot - she left her mountains for the green fields and hills of the UK: at the Universities of Nottingham and Cambridge, Elisa was fascinated by the power and opportunities that functional MRI can provide in understanding how the human brain works.

She became an expert in Cognitive Neuroscience, working as scientist and researcher, marrying computational models and advanced brain imaging techniques to understand how the structure and function of the human brain changes based on sensory experiences.

In 2020, Elisa joined the University of York, where she has applied her rigorous scientific approach to understand the fine circuits mapping object-features in the brain, to discover how we see objects with both our eyes and our mind’s eye. 

This work has led to inspiring collaborations with Dr Aneurin J Kennerley - mostly starting as open duels between the power of The Force and that of Magnetic Fields in revealing the most spectacular and intriguing aspects characterising the most complex organ in the galaxy.

Aneurin J Kennerley was a boy who grew up in Wolverhampton in the UK. He was shy, but highly intelligent and excelled in science. He was often teased by other more popular kids at school, but his life was soon to change when he started research work with MRI machines.

At the University of Sheffield, Aneurin was exposed to the high magnetic fields of many different MRI machines. The exposure gave Aneurin ‘Prof Xavier’-like mind reading abilities and powers. He now goes by his alter-ego @MagneticDr_K – scientist, mentalist, geek.  

@MagneticDr_K has supplemented his powers with the technology from which they were born. Being a brilliant chemist and scientist, @MagneticDr_K develops next generation MRI methods, allowing him to study the body like never before. He has developed systems that can directly probe brain function and, one day, aid doctors in diagnosing/treating their patients.

Following a few years at the University of York, he has now joined forces with Manchester Metropolitan University and the Institute of Sport, where, as the Master of MRI science, he’s secretly training his new generation of jedi scientists, fighting dark forces for a brighter and healthier future.


University of York

Venue details

  • Wheelchair accessible