The presentation of G. J. Mendel at EXPO 2020 in Dubai is one of the first major events organised by Masaryk University as part of this year’s celebration and commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of this important scientist. Masaryk University cooperates with the City of Brno, the South Moravian Region and Společně o.p.s. in preparing the exhibition.
The first thing visitors to the rotating exhibition room in the Czech Pavilion will see is Sun Drive’s special projection DNA Fiber Wall, imitating DNA fibres and the microscopic world. Visitors can walk through this wall, which forms an imaginary gate to the time when the famous scientist lived.
Three showcases installed by the university present MU as an institution protecting Mendel’s legacy. The central exhibit in the first showcase comes from the Mendel Museum. It is a replica of Mendel’s spectacles, which the scientist can be seen wearing in his famous portraits and photographs.
“All of Mendel’s exhibits you can see in our museum are of incalculable value and could be damaged in transit. That is why we decided to create a faithful copy of the spectacles, which have been carefully put in a case and then wrapped in additional protective packaging. The aim of our exhibition in Dubai is to present the legacy of Gregor Johann Mendel and to invite the EXPO visitors to Brno to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Mendel’s birth. Of course, we’d also like them to visit the Mendel Museum, where they can see the original exhibits from Mendel’s estate,” says Blanka Křížová, Director of the Mendel Museum MU.
Masaryk University transported the replica of the spectacles and other exhibits to Dubai by air in a transport box put on a special seat onboard the plane, while the display cases were transported in a special protective case. “The exhibition showcases are made to withstand shocks and can be compactly packed, disassembled and reassembled,” explains Křížová, adding that the presentation will also be on display at the Mendel Museum upon its return to Brno.
Linking Masaryk University to a world-renowned scientist through the EXPO 2020 exhibition is an opportunity to present the university not just to science fans. “We are a research university with cutting-edge facilities for molecular biology and genetics, the fields whose foundations were laid by Gregor Johann Mendel, as well as for other disciplines. Our university is also building on his legacy in other areas in which he excelled. The university’s polar station in Antarctica was named after Mendel, by which our natural scientists paid tribute to his contribution to meteorology as a discipline,” says Martin Bareš, Rector of Masaryk University, referring to the exhibition’s middle showcase which presents the polar station.
The presentation at EXPO 2020 in Dubai is also an invitation to Brno as a city that could be called the cradle of genetics. “We can say that most of the experiments by which Mendel explored the basic laws of genetics were conducted in Brno. By visiting the city, you are essentially walking on the same ground he did. In addition, this year, when he would have celebrated his 200th birthday, a series of events will be held for visitors to learn not only about the results of his research but also about his life. I believe that the programme will offer something to everyone’s liking,” says Markéta Vaňková, Mayor of Brno.
“Mendel fully deserves to be presented at EXPO 2020 in Dubai. He was an exceptional person, a brilliant scientist and the most important scientific figure ever to come from Moravia. Thanks to his legacy, South Moravia is today at the forefront of cooperation between universities and technology companies. We have much to be proud of,” adds Jan Grolich, Governor of the South Moravian Region.
The Mendel exhibition has been prepared by Sun Drive in cooperation with Masaryk University and the Augustinian Abbey in Old Brno. “It is important to present our city as a centre of science and education – not only in the past but also in the present and the future,” adds Jakub Carda from Společně o.p.s.
Building on the legacy of G. J. Mendel, the founder of genetics as one of the most important scientific disciplines of the 20th century, Masaryk University aims to present itself as an institution that continues to pursue genetic research in its scientific activities and also presents Mendel’s work to the general public. An overview of the Mendel 200 programme can be found on its website.