The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal

Through December 31, 2018

Santiago Ramón y Cajal 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 will include approximately 80 of Cajal’s drawings, many rarely before seen in the U.S.

These historical works will be complemented by contemporary visualizations, many from MIT laboratories, bringing to view new understandings of the brain, enabled by developing technologies in the field of brain and cognitive science.  

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Spotlight Tours
Explorations led by local and Spanish scientists, artists, and entrepreneurs who will share their unique perspectives on particular aspects of the exhibition. Limited tickets available at 1:30 p.m. on day of event for Museum visitors of age 12+ on a first-come, first-served basis.  Tours begin at 2:00 p.m.

Oct. 13 Dr. Shoh Asano, Senior Scientist, Pfizer 
Oct. 24 Professor Rafael Yuste, Professor of Biological Sciences and Neuroscience, Columbia University (Presenter made possible by The Embassy of Spain, Washington, D.C.) 
Oct. 27 Dr. Jacque Ip, Mriganka Sur laboratory, Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, MIT 
Nov. 10 Dana Boebringer, graduate student, Harvard-MIT program in Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology  
Nov. 17 Amy Robinson Sterling, Executive Director, Eyewire
Dec. 1 Justin Fleming, Graduate Researcher, Harvard University Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology Program  
Dec. 22 Dr. Shabir Hassan, Postdoctoral Researcher in Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard-MIT and Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School

Idea Hub
Drop in and explore expansion microscopy in our makerspace.

Visualizing Science Workshop
See the world in more detail by using a range of visual technologies.  Pre-registration required.

Gallery Demonstrations
Explore neural anatomy, signal transmission, and modern imaging techniques.


Oct. 10, 17, 24 Soap Box Series
Join us for one or all three evenings in lively conversation about the brain. 

Nov. 3 Girls Day
Explore the complex and curious world of neuroscience through hands-on activities, informal talks, and demonstrations.



The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramon y Cajal was developed by the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota with the CSIC's Cajal Institute, Madrid, Spain.
Major exhibition support provided by:
Sustaining exhibition support provided by:

Contributing exhibition support provided by:
Additional exhibition support provided by the Associate Provost for the Arts, and the Council for the Arts at MIT.

Image: Santiago Ramón y Cajal, glial cells of the cerebral cortex of a child, 1904, (detail) ink and pencil on paper. Courtesy of the Cajal Institute, Spanish National Research Council, or CSIC. Madrid. Spain.