The 2022 EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) runs from July 13 – 16, 2022 but the 2022 European City of Science programme runs for the entire year and a July 15, 2022 University of Leiden press release (received via email) announces a special anniversary date being celebrated by Europe’s current City of Science [Leiden, Netherlands]*,
The smallest statue in the world: Leiden physicists and sculptor build a
Researchers from Leiden University together with sculptor Jeroen Spijker
created a 3D-printed statue of Rembrandt van Rijn of 28 micrometers tall
– that’s a third of the thickness of a hair. The sculpture, that
isn’t visible to the naked eye, is on display at Museum De Lakenhal in
Leiden. Leiden is the birth town of the famous painter, and on his
birthday today, everyone can come and ‘see’ the statue for free.
To celebrate Leiden European City of Science 2022, Jeroen Spijker worked
with physicists Daniela Kraft and Rachel Doherty from Leiden University
on a micro-statue of Rembrandt made from polymer with a layer of
platinum. At just 28 micrometres tall, the statue, which was made with a
3D printer, is around a third of the thickness of a human hair. This
makes it the smallest work of art in the world, says Jeroen Spijker.
3D printed as small as possible
The work is based on a bronze sculpture of Rembrandt that Spijker had
previously made. This was scanned and printed as small as possible with
a 3D printer. This isn’t Leiden University’s first miniature work.
In 2020 Kraft and Doherty’s research group used the same 3D printer to
make the smallest boat in the world, which could even sail. At 30
micrometres, this was slightly larger than Rembrandt.
Discover the limits of scientific devices
Not only are such tiny creations fun challenges but they also help
scientific research. Kraft and Doherty are studying microswimmers:
microscopic particles that can move in a fluid environment. They print
these microswimmers themselves with a very accurate 3D printer. ‘The
Rembrandt project is helping us discover the limits of our devices,’
says Doherty. ‘How small can we print something?’
On display next to Rembrandt’s paintings
Visitors will see for themselves how this is invisible to the naked eye.
The statue will be in the same room as paintings by Rembrandt. There is
also a short film about the process. Jeroen Spijker: ‘I wanted to
create a statue that I could still accept as a work of art with my own
signature. Any smaller and there would have been too many
About Leiden2022 European City of Science
The nano-statue of Rembrandt was created as a project where art meets
science, one aspect of Leiden2022 European City of Science. The statue
will be on display at Museum De Lakenhal until 31 July.
Leiden is European City of Science in 2022: for a year Leiden is the
capital of European science. Leiden University is a proud partner of
Leiden2022. For an entire year Leiden2022 will be offering a programme
for anyone with an open and curious mind, a programme packed with
science, knowledge, art and expertise.
Here’s the statue,
You can find more about Leiden 2022 European City of Science here. While it’s late for the 2022 EuroScience Open Forum, there’s a preview of the upcoming 2024 European City of Science to be held in Katowice, Poland, which will likely be the site of the 2024 EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) as well.
*[Leiden, Netherlands] added July 15, 2022 at 1325 hours PT.