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Symposium Beauty in Science

March 11 2011

10.00 - 15.00 uur The symposium will take place at the Willem Burger Room of De Doelen (more information on this location: www.dedeoelen.nl)

€ 20

(Friends of the museum and students pay €10)


It is not necessarily evident to everyone that beauty and science go together, so Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has organized a symposium to explore the topic. The museum invited Dr Jan C. Molenaar, emeritus professor at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam, to put together a programme, and he has chosen three themes with contributions from eminent scientists in various disciplines.


Beauty in Science has to be seen to be enjoyed. Similarly, in modern science things can only be properly understood when they can be seen.
Biofysicus Ignace Hooge explains what happens in our head when we see.
Astrophysicist Vincent Icke shows how things in the macro-cosmos invisible to the human eye can be made visible.
Bio-scientist Gaël McGill explains how the micro-cosmos hidden from our eyes can be imaged.


Beauty has to do with subjective experience and personal emotion. Science, on the other hand, is based on a rational quest for an objective truth that exists outside ourselves.
The philosopher of science James McAllister wonders whether beauty can nevertheless also be the characteristic of the truth.
The art historian and art critic Janneke Wesseling asks whether science, regardless of how beautiful it often is, and art are not two very different matters. Can these two ever be brought together?

We can all see with our eyes. But there is another way of seeing – in the imagination. It is this same imagination that artists call upon to create entirely new realities and extend existing reality. Mathematical physicist and President of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences, Robbert Dijkgraaf, will talk about the power of imagination in science and art.

Moderator: Dr Jan C. Molenaar
Languages: Dutch / English (lecture Gaël McGill)
Location: Willem Burger Room of De Doelen (more information on this location: www.dedoelen.nl)