Science in Sunderland

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An international touring exhibition celebrating one of the 20th Century's most influential centres of scientific excellence arrived in Sunderland last week.

The Design 4 Science exhibition, curated by Sunderland University, highlights the work of the Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge.

The exhibition, which opened at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens on September 14, showcases the works of highly regarded contemporary UK designers.

Part of the project was to organise a national design competition challenging today's creative talents to communicate aspects of the MRC’s work to a non-scientific audience, through media such as ceramic and glass design, animation, illustration, graphics, multimedia and textiles.

The exhibition will display the winning entries, which came from art and design institutions across the UK.

Exhibitors include Andy Altmann (graphics), Paul Cocksedge (3D design), Daniel Brown (digital technology and interactive design) and Ben Fry, an interactive designer who trained with John Maeda at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the USA.

Design4Science was funded by the Wellcome Trust - the world's second largest biomedical charity, which supports the public understanding of science. The exhibition is curated by Shirley Wheeler, Head of Design at Sunderland University’s School of Art, Design, Media & Culture.

She said: ‘The public are often unaware of how much science is adding to our daily lives. The students and professional designers have taken this to heart and come up with some terrific ideas that really make you think and engage with these complex scientific discoveries.

‘They are very skilled in devising design work that helps communicate these complicated ideas, just as Crick and Watson captured the public imagination with their famous 'double helix' model devised to explain the structure of DNA, the designers are communicating science, such as monoclonal antibody research, which has changed all our lives.’

The exhibition, which was previewed in Cambridge, runs at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens until October 28. It will then move to the Nobel Museum in Stockholm and will close on June 6, 2008 in Sweden.