1 october

Kick-off NWO-Project Visualizing the Unknown

Location Zoom
Start/end 14:30 hours - 16:30 hours

This exciting project aims at reconstructing the pioneering observations of 17th-century microscopists such as Robert Hooke, Johannes Swammerdam and Antoni van Leeuwenhoek. Facing previously unknown structures such as the anatomy of insects, sperm and bacteria, these pioneering microscopists had to develop a new visual idiom to shape, record and disseminate their observations. What could they see? How did they represent their observations?

How did they convince their peers and the larger public of new scientific facts? By using original microscopes, specimens and drawings, the research project ‘Visualizing the Unknown’ will shed new light on this process, which still is relevant in scientific communication today. During our launch-event, some preliminary images of the project will be shown.

On behalf of the project-team, we cordially invite you to the kick-off meeting of the research project which will take place at Rijksmuseum Boerhaave on 1 October, 14:30-16:30:
Visualizing the Unknown. Scientific Observation, Representation and Communication in 17th-century Science and Society

This event takes place on Zoom, please follow the link HERE to register.


14:30 Word of welcome, Amito Haarhuis, director of Rijksmuseum Boerhaave

14:40 The making of the project: backgrounds, challenges and techniques, Sietske Fransen and Tiemen Cocquyt

15:10 From observation to publication: the role of images in science, Eric Jorink

15:30 Escaped from the MicroLab: some teasers and trailers, Wim van Egmond

15:40 Visualizing the Unknown and the Republic of Letters, Dirk van Miert, director Huygens Institute (KNAW)

16:00 Questions, concluding remarks

The research project is a collaboration between the Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands (KNAW), Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institute for Art History, and Rijksmuseum Boerhaave. Additional partners are the Royal Society of London and the Rijksmuseum. This project is funded by the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO).