»The brain is the ultimate mystery,« says Henning, explaining that it is generally less understood than other organs. »The heart pumps, the lungs fill with air, but we have no idea how our emotions are produced in the brain – an organ that is only the size of two fists. The more you research it, the more fascinating it becomes,« says Henning. In addition to studying neuroscience in Germany, Henning holds a diploma in project management from the University of California.
»The architecture of neurons« was at the heart of Henning's research. »In our neuron structure we have railways and streets; railways work better for longer distances,« Henning says. »I was always interested in our biology and in the brain in particular,« he adds. With a Hertie PhD scholarship, Henning conducted research on the spinal cord at the Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research in Tübingen, analysing »our neural railway system, where the traffic is sometimes fluid and other times blocked.« It is important to understand these processes for diseases such as Parkinson’s or multiple sclerosis, for example. After finishing his PhD at the Graduate School of Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience, Henning turned his attention from these inner structures towards the outer world of »neuroscience entertainment.«
In our neuron structure we have railways and streets; railways work better for longer distances.
Today, Henning is »the guy who tells people how the brain works« through various talks and books. He mediates between science and the public, where he »explains scientific research in simple terms,« and gives talks at schools and other public events. It all began with a Science Slam while finishing his PhD, where Henning discovered the rewards of explaining science in an entertaining way. He tackled questions like »What is a thought?« and »How do we do certain things better than computers?« People are naturally curious, and Henning loves »talking to non-scientific people,« be it on the radio or through interactive media. His audiences never cease to inspire him with unexpected questions, such as »How do I improve my handwriting?« Henning enjoys patiently explaining invisible scientific connections. »There is nothing that isn’t connected to thinking,« he says. His work now moves along railways of words and syntax.