Fusing art, science and history - a retrospective of Gregor Mendel's work

五月 22, 2002

Brussels, 21 May 2002

'The Genius of Genetics, a celebration of Gregor Mendel through science and art' honours the life and work of an Augustinian friar whose experiments with peas in the 1860s unlocked the secrets of heredity.

Artists, scientists, architects and curators from around the world have joined the abbot of the Abbey of St Thomas in Brno, Czech Republic, to honour the man dubbed the father of modern genetics. The retrospective of Gregor Mendel's work opens to the public on 21 May 2002 and runs for one year. The exhibition is divided into three sections. Section one focuses on the man himself, his background and motivations. The second looks more closely at his research interests and methodology. In the last part of the exhibition, Mendel's experiments are put into historical context, how his work ultimately led to the development of genetics. The exhibition combines historical items and documents belonging to Mendel - including his annotated books and letters - as well as contemporary works of art on the theme of genetics and an interactive website. Plans for the future include the restoration of Mendel's experimental garden and apiary. In 2004, the team are aiming for a Mendel Museum of Genetics and Mendel Life Science Centre within the abbey, which will serve as a forum for discussion on genetics for scientists, artists and the public alike.

Mankind's intellectual heritage

Behind the exhibition is a Vienna-based organisation set up to promote genetic research, Vereinigung zur Förderung der Genomforschung. Professor Nasymth, one of the organisers, said, "Mendel's work gave us a new outlook on the nature and causes of our very inheritance. The Abbey of St Thomas, therefore, must be considered a key part of mankind's intellectual heritage." The exhibition is kicked-off with the inaugural conference, 'Genetics after the Genome' (16-19 May), co-hosted by the European Molecular Biology Organisation and the Vereinigung. Among the delegates expected at the event are Nobel prize winners Christianne Nüsslein-Volhard from Germany and Eric Wieschaus from the USA. The organisers believe the conference and exhibition should be a good opportunity to exchange ideas on the progress in gene research. "It will be a memorable experience for this group of scientists, yet just the beginning of a lasting testimony to this extraordinary man," said Professor Nasmyth.

Contact: elaine.snell@which.net

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