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MIT Technology Review

The Art of Science

The Koch Institute Public Galleries offer a glimpse inside the lab.

Racing on foot past the MIT Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research is a bit like trying to run through an art museum. It's hard not to get drawn in by the 10 eight-foot images lining the glass-fronted Main Street lobby. Those who do stop to look more closely find that what appears to be an abstract painting might turn out to be an extreme close-up of blood vessels, a map of neuronal activity, or an eerily beautiful image of cancer cells.

The Koch Institute Public Galleries give passersby a glimpse into the research going on inside the building—and in labs across campus. "We're engaging the local community so it's not all happening behind closed doors," says KI executive director Anne Deconinck. 

MIT researchers submitted more than 120 images for the 2014 exhibit; a panel of scientists and artists chose the 10 winners, six of which are shown here. The full 2014 exhibit will be unveiled formally in the galleries and online on March 4. (Register here for the opening event, which begins at 6:00 p.m.)

"It's great to design some kind of nanotechnology that you're pretty sure works, but one of the best ways to know it works is to actually see it happening," says KI postdoc Omar F. Khan of his winning image. "For a researcher, it almost gives you peace of mind."