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IAU President Curates Art and Science Exhibition

21 October 2019


Images from the opening of Cosmos: Art and Knowledge exhibition at the Rijkhauseum Boerhaave on 9 October 2019.
Credit: IAU100.

The Cosmos: Art and Knowledge exhibition combining  science and art was curated by Professor Ewine van Dishoeck of Leiden University, and president of the International Astronomical Union. The exhibit is featured at the Rijksmuseum Boerhaave from 10 October 2019 to 15 March 2020.


On Wednesday 9 October, Ewine van Dishoeck launched the opening of the exhibition with an audience of approximately 100 people. The event included a Q&A session and an open discussion with the museum’s director.


The Cosmos: Art and Knowledgeexhibition provides an astronomical experience for visitors through both art related to astronomical objects and the science behind them, while also exploring them across different cultures and time. It starts close to home with our moon, then moves to the planets and comets in our solar system, and ends with stars and distant galaxies. It covers a broad spectrum from Eastern to Western art and cultural history, from Roman times to the present.


The exhibition features many special pieces, including a moonstone from the Apollo 17 mission and the book “De Wereldbeschouwer” from renowned 17th-century Leiden physicist Christiaan Huygens. The Leiden Aratea is also featured, an extremely rare Carolingian manuscript from 816 with images of the seasons, planets and constellations. This medieval manuscript comes from the collection of the University Library.


The exhibit also presents how various different cultures have perceived and interpreted the cosmos, such as the Aboriginals in Australia or how the moon is perceived differently today: Western stories often describe a visible face of a man on the moon, while Asian countries describe a rabbit.


Jorge Rivero González

IAU100 Coordinator

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