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The MIT Museum will present The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal (May 3, 2018 – December 31, 2018). This traveling exhibition is the first major presentation of Spanish neuroscientist Santiago Ramón y Cajal’s pioneering drawings of the brain and brain cells, and also features contemporary visualizations that illuminate the impact of Cajal’s early work on modern day neuroscience.

A significant number of contemporary visualizations from MIT laboratories will be added to the exhibition while at the MIT Museum, bringing to view new understandings of the brain, enabled by developing technologies in the field of brain and cognitive science. Included are expansion microscopy, optogenetics, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). In a dedicated observation and drawing workstation, visitors will have the opportunity to sketch the brain and nervous system, enabling a deeper appreciation of Cajal’s works.

Through his astonishing observations and illustrations, Cajal helped to create the modern field of neuroscience. Eighty of Cajal’s rarely seen, original drawings will be on view, selected by a curatorial team of University of Minnesota neuroscientists and an art historian from the Weisman Art Museum, based on both scientific importance and aesthetic value.

“We are excited to host The Beautiful Brain at the MIT Museum. Cajal’s exquisite drawings laid the foundations of modern neuroscience by confirming that the brain is composed of discrete cells, or neurons,” said John Durant, The Mark R. Epstein (Class of 1963) Director of the MIT Museum. “We look forward to placing Cajal’s historic work alongside some of the latest brain images produced by MIT neuroscientists during the exhibition’s stop in Cambridge.”


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