Beautiful Science: Ideas that Changed the World


"Beautiful Science: Ideas that Changed the World," a permanent exhibition in The Huntington’s Dibner Hall, encourages visitors to think about the beauty of science in a historical context—the elegant breakthroughs, the remarkable discoveries, and the amazing people and stories behind them. The objects featured here are representative of the kinds of material on display, as items rotate to avoid their over-exposure to light. The exhibition is arranged around four areas of exploration that include exceptional items from The Huntington’s collection.




The development of sophisticated instruments has unlocked many secrets of the skies...and revealed additional mysteries. 

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Natural History

Holding a mirror up to the natural world has led to dramatic advances in genetics, medicine, and agriculture.

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Exploring the workings of the body throughout the centuries has led to new abilities to help treat physical conditions, but the journey has not been an easy one.

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From eyesight to daylight to electricity, our understanding of the properties of light and energy continues to evolve.

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Using original source material that spans the 16th century through modern day, each gallery focuses on the changing role of science over time, and the astonishing leaps in imagination made by scientists.


Works in the exhibition represent centuries of thought, showing how knowledge has become more refined over time.


When seen as a collection, the power and range of human achievement on display is truly awe-inspiring.



"Beautiful Science: Ideas that Changed the World" is made possible by:

The Dibner family, celebrating Bern and David Dibner and the Burndy Library

Ahmanson Foundation

Anne and Jim Rothenberg

About The Huntington

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution established in 1919 by Henry E. and Arabella Huntington. Henry Huntington, a key figure in the...

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