A group of travelers stops on the way to their gate to get a closer look at the Artful Science exhibit. The work shown here represents a diversity of stem cell research across Canada.

Take a High-Flying Trip to the Heart of Discovery

The Artful Science exhibit, on at Toronto's Pearson Airport until the end of 2018, highlights the beauty that researchers encounter every day.

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Walk across one of the three glass bridges connecting Toronto Pearson Airport’s Terminal 1 Departures check-in to its gates and you’ll see a series of what appear to be prints of abstract art lining the walls. Upon closer inspection, however, it becomes clear that these prints are, in fact, real scientific images from research labs across the country—originally created not as a part of an art installation, but for cutting-edge research going on in Canadian university laboratories today.

The Artful Science exhibit is on now at Toronto’s Pearson Airport at the Terminal 1 Departures check-in area. Follow the stars to find it!

The Artful Science exhibit brings together a diverse variety of researchers across scientific fields, ranging from biomedical engineering to quantum physics, and draws inspiration from the beauty of scientific discovery that scientists themselves experience in their day-to-day work, but that often isn’t easily accessed by the general public. It invites travellers to engage with today’s research, offering a glimpse into the world of discovery visible through the eyepiece of a microscope.

The fact is that science and art are more closely related than you might think—and highlighting the beauty of scientific discovery is why these images are on display.

The exhibit hosts a collection of scientific images taken by researchers across Canada and curated by the University of Toronto and Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM). The final images were selected by the Department of Ambiance and Aesthetics, Greater Toronto Airports Authority. It will be on display in Terminal 1 through the end of 2018.

The opening of the exhibit coincides with Science Literacy Week, an initiative founded by University of Toronto alumnus Jesse Hildebrand with the goal of celebrating Canadian science by partnering with institutions from coast to coast to bring science to the street through hundreds of public events.

“Art enables people to see science in a new light, and helps share science with audiences that otherwise may never have engaged with it at all,” says Hildebrand. “Blending artistic expression into scientific disciplines helps other people see the beauty and magic of science that its practitioners witness every day.”

The Artful Science Exhibit as seen from Toronto Pearson Airport Terminal 1’s business class bridge #3. The images will be on display through the end of 2018.

With more than 47 million passengers travelling through the airport in 2017, Toronto Pearson is Canada’s gateway to the world. Artful Science welcomes all travellers to experience the wonder of science, celebrate its beauty, and understand how research is shaping our present and future.

Just like the space it occupies, the Artful Science Exhibit aims to bridge the gap between art and science, encouraging curiosity and a passion for discovery in both the scientist and non-scientist alike.

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Emily Deibert is a PhD student in the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics at the University of Toronto with a passion for science outreach and communication. She earned her HBSc (Astronomy, English, and Mathematics) at the University of Toronto. She is excited about turning scientific research into stories and sharing these stories with the public.