The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal

  • Visual arts
  • Boston
  • Thu, May 03 —
    Mon, December 31, 2018
The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal

This traveling exhibition is the first major presentation of Spanish neuroscientist’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.

,Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852–1934) made transformative discoveries of the anatomy of the brain and nervous system, work that led to his receiving a Nobel Prize in 1906. This founder of modern neuroscience was also an exceptional artist. His drawings of the brain were not only beautiful, but also astounding in their capacity to illustrate and understand the details of brain structure and function.

The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal includes approximately 80 of Cajal’s drawings, many rarely before seen in the U.S.

These historical works will be complemented by a contemporary exhibition of neuroscience visualizations that are leading to new insights, aided by technologies, many pioneered here at MIT, that allow increasingly more detailed and precise understandings.

Spanish scientists at the public program

Francisco Martin-Martinez

  • On Saturday, June 23 at 2 pm. At MIT Museum.
  • Research Scientist in MIT’s Laboratory for Atomistic & Molecular Mechanics and President of the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology.

Javier Santaolalla & Salvador Dura

  • On Tuesday, June 26 at 6 pm. At McGovern Institute for Brain Research.
  • Javier Santaolalla: Engineer, PhD in particle physics.
  • Salvador Dura: Research Assistant Professor at SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

Alex Gomez-Marin

Ana Maria Cuervo

  • On Friday, September 7 at 6 pm. At McGovern Institute for Brain Research.
  • Co-director of the Einstein Institute for Aging Research, and Robert and Renee Belfer Chair for the Study of Neurodegenerative Diseases.

Carlos Cruchaga & Sonia Villapol

  • On Friday, October 5 at 6 pm. At McGovern Institute for Brain Research.
  • Carlos Cruchaga: Associate Professor of Psychiatry. Washington University St. Louis
  • Sonia Villapol: Assistant Professor, Neurorestoration Laboratory, Houston Methodist Research Institute.

Javier DeFelipe

Rafael Yuste

  • On Wednesday, October 24 at 6 pm. At MIT Museum.
  • Professor of Biological Sciences and Neuroscience at Columbia University.

Susana Martínez-Conde

Joaquin Fuster

Alfonso Araque & Teresa Giraldez

  • On Friday, December 7 at 6 pm. At McGovern Institute for Brain Research.
  • Alfonso Araque: Professor, Department of Neuroscience, University of Minnesota.
  • Teresa Giraldez: Lecturer Professor, Universidad de La Laguna.


Venue map

MIT Museum, 265 Massachusetts Avenue, Building N51, Cambridge, MA 02139


More information

MIT Museum


Developed by the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota with the CSIC's Cajal Institute, Madrid, Spain. The exhibition at the MIT Museum is supported by Fundación Carlos Areces, Fundación Rafael del Pino, La Caixa Foundation, Cantabria Labs and the Embassy of Spain in Washington, D.C. Image: glial cells of the cerebral cortex of a child bt Santiago Ramón y Cajal,1904, (detail) ink and pencil on paper (courtesy of the Cajal Institute, Spanish National Research Council, or CSIC, Madrid, Spain)



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