Beauty in Science

Photo: Wim van Egmond Three-dimensional protein structure, photograph: Piet Gros, Utrecht Bacterial culture: Bacillus pumilus, magnification 1.6x, photograph: R.P. Verkooijen, Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Department, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam Two fungal colonies, photograph: Jan Dijksterhuis, CBS Fungal Biodiversity Centre (KNAW), Utrecht

Press release

Beauty in Science

12 February – 5 June 2011

Scientific research furnishes us with insights and knowledge, but can it also offer beauty? Prof. Dr Hans Galjaard (1935) is curating an exhibition about the aesthetics of science. He has assembled a unique collection of images and films from ten scientific disciplines that are both realistic and astonishing. This collection can be seen at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen from February.

For several years Hans Galjaard has asked renowned research institutes, individual scientist and photographers in the Netherlands and abroad to select images. This material demonstrates that science not only provides us with new knowledge and insights, but also produces great beauty. This beauty can be found in (sub)microscopic images of molecules, cells and organisms, natural phenomena and breathtaking images of the cosmos.

Ten themes

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is showing a selection of more than seven hundred images and film clips, displayed and projected according to ten themes: physics, chemistry, geology, bacteria, single-celled organisms in water, fungi, plants, cell biology, human reproduction and astronomy.

Hans Galjaard
Prof. Dr Hans Galjaard is Professor Emeritus of Human Genetics at the Erasmus University, Rotterdam. He is a physician and researcher and is known to the general public from his many television appearances and books aimed at a lay readership. He employs accessible and entertaining language to inform the general public about exactly what it is that scientists do in their laboratories and about the ethical consequences of new technological developments.


The museum is organising the symposium ‘Beauty and Science’ on 11 March with presentations by experts on the arts and science (language: Dutch). Speakers include Vincent Icke, Robbert Dijkgraaf, Ignace Hooge, Janneke Wesseling, Jan Molenaar (moderator), Gaël McGill and James McAllister. On 20 February Hans Galjaard will give a lecture in the museum’s auditorium about the genesis of the exhibition, with an introduction by the museum’s director, Sjarel Ex (language: Dutch). For more information: