Photo 51, DNA & The Brain: MRC Centenary Shows

Heritage Arts, Joana Seguro, LAS Theatre & King’s College London | Summer 2013

The UK’s Medical Research Council turned 100 in 2013. In celebration of this fact, and the 60th Anniversary of Rosalind Franklin’s Photo 51, the historic image created through x-ray crystallography proving the double-helical structure of DNA, Heritage Arts teamed up with a variety of collaborators from the worlds of science and the arts to bring three unique events to King’s College London.

Bringing Scientific Heritage To Life

The events featured everything from live hands-on scientific experiments with practising neurobiology researchers, to interactive time-travelling lectures, as Heritage Arts performers helped Brian Sutten, professor of Molecular Biophysics at KCL, take audiences on a journey through history to meet met scientists whose discoveries and postulations were instrumental in bringing us towards our present-day understanding of DNA.

The celebrations were capped of with a cross-campus family day hosted by Heritage Arts in collaboration The Enlightenment Cafe from LAS Theatre and the Photo 51 exhibition at Somerset House, with a DNA Patent Office for kids, live DNA Extractions and careers advice. Visitors of all ages came to meet the artists, scientists and delve into the science of DNA and the brain in an afternoon of displays and short talks. From extracting DNA from strawberries to an extraordinary meeting with the real brain, the project sought to bring enlightenment, entertainment and excitement. 

Heritage Arts were delighted to work alongside artist Shelley James, Dr Colin Stolkin, Professor Guy Tear, Joana Seguro, LAS Theatre, Brian Sutton and everyone at KCL & Somerset House. Photographs taken by Jana Chiellino.

Further Information

For more about Photo 51 and it’s significance, we recommend Brian’s fantastic summary in MRC’s insight magazine here.

If you’d like to get in touch about the event, or how Heritage Arts might be able to help with your event or educational activity, please get in touch by email: