Joan Oró. In search of the origins of life

The exhibition marks Joan Oró Year by presenting the life and professional career of the Lleida-born biochemist

Until 22 september 2024

The exhibition “Joan Oró. In search of the origins of life" explains the life and work of the Catalan biochemist Joan Oró i Florensa (Lleida, 1923 - Barcelona, 2004), considered one of the most important scientists of the 20th century thanks to his studies into the origins of life on Earth and the search for life on other planets.

From a very young age, Oró asked himself fundamental questions about life, and his attempts to find the answers led him to head off to the United States, where he made his most valuable achievement with the synthesis of adenine. The discovery earned him global renown as a scientist, and he worked with NASA on the key space programmes of the 20th century. The displays likewise cover his legacy as a promoter of research and innovation systems which have helped to develop science in Catalonia.

This is the most notable exhibition ever dedicated to Joan Oró, bringing a vast amount of documentation about both his professional and his personal life before the public for the first time. It includes explanatory panels, various exhibits (books from his youth, notebooks, laboratory apparatus, official letters, meteorites, etc.) along with short audiovisual features in which experts from the scientific field explain the importance of Joan Oró's work and discoveries.

There are three different audiovisual elements on display: the diversity of life on Earth; television interviews with Joan Oró, and the accounts of young professionals (engineers, physicists, biologists) explaining the inspirational events that prompted them to work in the fields of science and technology. The exhibition likewise features two interactive games, the first concerning DNA, and the second asking questions about Joan Oró, as a way of summarising the content on display.