Indepth Arts News: |
"HHMI Purchases Geis Archives"
2000-10-30 until 2000-11-30
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Chevy Chase, MD,
USA United States of America
The Howard Hughes
Medical Institute has purchased the
Geis Archives, a collection of work by
Irving Geis, a scientific artist whose
paintings, sketches and drawings
enabled generations of scientists to
visualize many of biology's most
important macromolecules. Also
included in the purchase are related
scientific correspondence, a science
library of Geis's published work, and
his private journals.
Geis (1908-1997) was one of the greatest scientific artists
of the 20th century. His innovations, particularly in
depicting the structures of biological macromolecules such
as DNA, earned him an international reputation. Many of
his illustrations appeared in Scientific American, including
a painting of the first protein crystal structure, of
myoglobin, published in 1961.
We are honored to take responsibility for this archive,
said Thomas R. Cech, the Institute's president. Irving Geis
was a pioneer in molecular art who worked closely with
scientists to reveal the beauty of nature. He took great
care to ensure accuracy and had a gift for depicting the
three-dimensionality and movement of molecules. Even
today, many of his images compare favorably with those
produced by high-tech computer graphics.
Geis illustrated numerous scientific textbooks, was a guest
lecturer at universities and medical schools and exhibited
his work at scientific institutions throughout the United
The Institute, the nation's largest medical research
philanthropy, will display many of the works at its
headquarters and conference center in Chevy Chase, Md.
It also plans to create an online exhibit and to make the
images and collection available to other institutions.
Myoglobin Fold (1987)
The eight alpha helices form a
watertight pocket for the heme
(red disc), where oxygen is
reversibly bound to the central
©2000 Howard Hughes