Past Event

Rutgers University - Aesthetics and the Life Sciences Symposium

October 21, 2016
8:30 AM - 6:00 PM
Event time is displayed in your time zone.
Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University

This public symposium will bring together scientists, performance and visual artists, educators, historians, and anthropologists to share their perspectives on the powerful intersection between the arts and the life sciences.

Life Science and Art are deeply intertwined. In the late Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci studied human anatomy producing exquisite anatomical drawings alongside his designs for flying machines. In 1859, Darwin famously referenced the evolution of “endless forms most beautiful.” And from the turn of the 20th century to the present, the concepts and materials of biology have penetrated the visual and performance arts through avenues as varied as DNA and protein structure-motivated dances and plays, tissue culture-based sculptures and prints, and even evolution-inspired rap. In past and in present, creative art, aesthetic judgments, and the life sciences have been integral to one another.

The goal of the symposium is to to celebrate and raise awareness of the interconnections between the arts and the life sciences, and to provoke discussions of how biological knowledge and artistic expression might continue to explain the workings of the natural world, while simultaneously allowing us to appreciate and manipulate it.

A highlight will be an animated keynote performance presented by Dance Exchange.

Closing comments will be led by D. Graham Burnett (Department of History, Princeton University).

This event is open to the public, but space is limited. Please register at

  • Janet Iwasa (Department of Biochemistry, University of Utah)
  • Elizabeth Johnson (Dance Exchange)
  • Anne Q. McKeown (Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University)
  • Natasha Myers (Department of Anthropology, York University)
  • Jane Richardson (Department of Biochemistry, Duke University)
  • Yvan Tint (University of Aix-Marseille and The University of Texas at Dallas)
  • Judith G. Voet (Department of Biochemistry, Swarthmore University)​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
  • Donald Voet (Department of Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania)
  • Julian Voss-Andreae (Sculptor, Portland, WA)​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
  • Alexander Wragge-Morley​​​​​​​ (Department of History, New York University and University College London)