Cancer is on my mind lately. I know how to have fun, huh? But maybe it’s because yet another good friend of mine just had surgery for breast cancer, or maybe it’s because I’m reading this great Pulitzer Prize winning book on cancer, or maybe it’s because I just took a tour of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT the other day. I could elaborate on the many wonderful aspects of this Institute, namely its interdisciplinary nature, or the fact that of its over 500 researchers, half are engineers and half are scientists. Or I could point out that it is the first place of its kind trying to come at diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer from a truly innovative approach.
But like all things at MIT, what really impresses me is the way MIT understands how a wonderful art exhibit can illuminate and demystify the most mysterious and frightening of diseases. The gallery on the first floor of this brand new center is definitely worth a visit. It was established to connect the community in Kendall Square and beyond with the work of the Koch Institute and it is free and open to the public from 9am to 5pm weekdays. Not everything in the exhibit is a work of art per se, however, and actually the most striking part of the exhibit is a series of images. These are real images not rendered by an artist, but are instead a row of large colorful backlit images of cells and blood vessels, both directly and indirectly relating to cancer, in all their beautiful and horrifying magnification.
These images change yearly through another “MIT-like” process, an open competition to recognize extraordinary visuals that are produced through life sciences research. Any MIT students, faculty, staff, or affiliates may submit images. MIT community members at the Broad Institute and the Whitehead Institute are also eligible, as are MIT collaborators at other Universities, hospitals, and private companies. You’ve got until October 1 to submit your images.
And with that, I’ll leave you with a little vintage James Taylor.