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October 11, 2006

Biology as Art Topic of November 2 Lecture at Cape Cod Museum of Art

Lecture will Explore MBL Rare Books Collection

MBL, WOODS HOLE, MA—The melding of biology and art will be the topic of a talk by Catherine Norton, Director of the MBLWHOI Library on Thursday, November 2 at 11:00 AM at the Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis. The talk, titled Biology as Art - Exhibits from the Rare Book Room at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), celebrates the MBL’s “Art Forms in Nature” exhibit, which is on display at the museum through January 21.

“Art Forms in Nature” features a selection of digitized reproductions from biologist Ernst Haeckel's 1904 work, Kunstformen der Natur and is part of the of MBL’s rare book collection. Haeckel was a German scientist and accomplished artist who traveled far and wide-from Sicily, to the North Sea, and beyond while sketching deep-sea vegetation, aquatic creatures, frogs, birds, and higher animals. His drawings are considered a forerunner of the Art Nouveau movement. “The MBL is pleased to share this magnificent exhibit with the museum,” said MBL Director of Communications, Pamela Clapp Hinkle. “We are hopeful that this will be the first of many exhibits that the MBL can share with the greater Cape community.”

The MBL’s rare books collection contains more than 5,000 volumes of rare books and journals dating back to the 16th century. The earliest books are encyclopedias about the natural world of plants, animals and a very early volume about fish from 1574. The rare books collection also includes other kinds of treasures such as the 1937 Nobel Prize of Albert Szent-Györgyi who was a member of the MBL Corporation who had a lab at the institution.

Norton is the Director of the MBLWHOI Library—operated jointly by the MBL and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)— and is Director of Information Technology for the MBL. She received a B.S. from Regis College and a Masters of Library Science from Simmons College. She is the principal investigator on a number of projects at the MBL, including a grant from the National Library of Medicine for Medical Informatics and the Universal Biological Indexer and Organizer (uBio). Norton is a member of numerous professional library and information technology organizations, including American Library Association, American Society for Information Specialists, American Medical Information

Association, and the International Association for Aquatic and Marine Science Libraries and Information Centers. Norton is currently serving as the President of the Boston Library Association and was recently inducted into the Louis Round Wilson Academy’s Knowledge Trust, a newly formed academy of worldwide leaders in information technology.

Norton’s talk is a part of the museum’s “Artful Thursday” series, sponsored by Sovereign Bank. Admission is free to members and open by donation to others. For more information and directions, contact the museum at 508-385-4477 or visit www.ccmoa.org.


The MBL is an international, independent, nonprofit institution dedicated to improving the human condition through creative research and education in the biological, biomedical and environmental sciences. Founded in 1888 as the Marine Biological Laboratory, the MBL is the oldest private marine laboratory in the Western Hemisphere. For more information or to join the MBL Associates, visit www.MBL.edu