Breaking ground – 8 ways research shaped our world

Breaking Ground is an exhibition which highlight the interconnected histories of long term and fundamental research and their impact on society. Join us at Dipoli Gallery for the exhibition launch 4pm Thursday 7 April. The exhibition is open until 20 June 2022.
Tienraivaaja Breaking Ground näyttelyn mainos

Universities have long been recognised as centres of learning, knowledge and discovery. While the recent pandemic has shifted many of these practices to flexible, remote and networked ways of continuing research and education, the campus, it’s community, resources and infrastructures are still at the heart of our learning environments.  

In 2010, the Helsinki University of Technology, the Helsinki School of Economics and the University of Art and Design Helsinki combined to form Aalto University. Each institution brought with them their own cultures and legacies of research, merging to form what are now the six schools of Aalto where science and art meet technology and business. While the histories and traditions of these schools stretch back to the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, over time and proximity, they begin to intersect, to cross and weave across disciplines in search of new solutions to the world’s challenges.  

Developed since the 1950s with original urban plans by Alvar Aalto and further architectural designs from architects such as Reima and Raili Pietilä as well as Heikki and Kaija Sirén, the Otaniemi campus has been at the core of these collaborations. With leading teaching and research infrastructures developed and situated on campus acting as the sites of future discoveries. These include but are not limited to the Low Temperature Laboratory at OtaNano, the Acoustics Lab, The Aalto Ice and Wave Tank, Aalto Bioproduct Centre.  

This exhibition lifts up eight cases of ground breaking research and innovation across the six schools of Aalto from the twentieth century to present day. These cases share key moments of breakthrough and collaboration across science, technology, engineering, design and business, often mapping the intersection and influence of long-term research across fields. They highlight the broader significance of long-term research in education and society, generating multiple applications and innovations which cultivate more complex and sustainable development across fields. 

While neuroscientists and quantum physicists working in low-temperature labs have led to key developments in our understanding of the human brain and the questions of the universe, new solutions for sustainability have emerged across chemical engineering, design, biowaste recycling, novel fibres and textiles. Developments in neurocomputing and AI have advanced almost every other field including solutions in global business networks, communications technology, speech synthesis and marine engineering and technology.  

The core values of safe and sustainable futures are at the core of these cases, bringing together ways which research continues to shape our world.  

Join us at Dipoli Gallery for the exhibition launch 4pm Thursday 7 April. The exhibition is open until 20 June 2022.

Exhibition website:  (opens 7 April)

For further information on the exhibition:

Edel O Reilly, Curator [email protected] 

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