Barcelona Science Festival

Committed to Society

The Vallés Symphonic Orchestra played a fragment of a composition by IRB Barcelona researcher Ernest Giralt that reflects the periodicity and the properties of the elements of the periodic table.

Anna Rierola, IRB Barcelona’s first 'Artist in Residence', and Neus Prats, ambassador of the Artist in Residence Programme, participated in a round table about art and science from a woman's perspective.

IRB Barcelona also organised two workshops for children aged between 7 and 12: one about the chemistry around us—on the occasion of the International Year of the Periodic Table—and the other about how the human body works. 

Who says that science is boring? What about chemistry? For some people, such as Ernest Giralt, group leader at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine(IRB Barcelona) and emeritus professor of Organic Chemistry at the UB, the periodic table sounds like music. This was showcased on 27 October, with the interpretation of a fragment of his composition ‘Chemical Elements 2018: a musical mosaic’by the Vallés Symphonic Orchestra. The piece, which exemplifies the interrelation between music, chemistry and education, comprises 188 fragments and reflects the periodicity and properties of the elements of the periodic table.

Organised in collaboration with the Fundación Collserola and the Vallés Symphonic Orchestra,the musical event also included a talk involving GiraltLaia Espelt, PhD in Chemistry and head of the Department of Physics and Chemistry of the Fundación Collserola, and Mercé Izquierdo, PhD in Chemistry and lecturer at the UAB. Coinciding with the International Year of the Periodic Table, the talk addressed the role of education in extending knowledge related to the field of chemistry. 

This musical event is one of two activities addressing art and science that IRB Barcelona has devised for the Science Festival, an event organised by the Barcelona City Council at the Moll de la Fusta(in the Old Port).

In the second activity, Anna Rierola, IRB Barcelona's first Artist in Residence, participated in a round tableabout art and science from a woman's perspectiveThe Artist in Residence Programme seeks to bring science closer to society in a creative manner by allowing artists to spend time at IRB Barcelona, thus giving them the opportunity to immerse themselves in the way in which scientists work and to express their observations through artwork. 

The artists have unique access to a wide range of research lines, data and facilities at the institute and the opportunity to explore, learn and establish direct relationships with our scientists, thus setting the scene for reflection and inspiration.

As a visual artist who reflects on science as part of an interconnected world, Rierola bases her work on scientific images obtained through collaborations with research centres like IRB Barcelona.

This round table, organised in collaboration with Quo Artis, also involved IRB Barcelona scientist and ambassador of the Artist in Residence Programme Neus Prats, and art historian Daniel López del Rincón. Together they attempted to bring science closer to society, with a special focus on minimizing gender imbalance and promoting equal opportunities.


Commitment of IRB Barcelona to society

IRB Barcelona is a leading research centre whose objectives include fostering scientific culture, stimulating critical thinking, and promoting outreach activities for a wide range of audiences.

In this regard, each year the institute is involved in numerous communication and outreach activities, including open days, science fairs, and conferences open to the general public that are free of charge. These public outreach initiatives not only showcase the cutting-edge research underway at the centre but also provide a glimpse of the fascinating microscopic world being studied with the aim to improve public health and quality of life. 

At a time in which science is gaining an increasingly relevant role in all sectors of the economy and society, public outreach activities led by IRB Barcelona contribute to boosting knowledge and scientific culture, enhancing critical thinking, and facilitating access of a wide range of audiences to science.

IRB Barcelona’s mission to reach society and promote scientific vocation was also reflected through two workshops aimed at children aged between 7 and 12. In the first, Descubre la química que te rodea” (Discover the chemistry around you), various games allowed kids to discover the chemistry that accompanies them in everyday life. In the second workshop “Nuestro cuerpo, la ciudad perfecta”(Our body, the perfect city),the kids used microscopes to discover what their bodies look like inside and what their organs are made of.


Thank you!

We want to thank all the people and organisations that have contributed to furthering our mission, namely to bring biomedical advances to society and thus improve quality of life.



Background photo: Skin cancer stem cells to study biological processes related to different types of cancer and metastasis. Lorenzo Rinaldi, Alumni.