Frans B.M. de Waal: Animal Emotions and Empathy

Do animals have empathy? How can the study of animal emotions nurture the study of behaviour? And is there a line between human and animal emotions?

Join us for a talk by one of the world's leading primatologists Dr. Frans B.M. de Waal on 

June 27th, 2018, 3:00pm

at the LMU-Biozentrum, Room 00.019, Großhaderner Str. 2, 82152 Martinsried

in English language


June 2018 - Frans de Waal Talk
Emotions suffuse much of the language employed by students of animal behavior -- from "social bonding" to "alarm calls" -- yet are often avoided as explicit topic in scientific discourse. Given the increasing interest of human psychology in the emotions, and the neuroscience on animal emotions such as fear and attachment, the taboo that has hampered animal research in this area is outdated. The main point is to separate emotions from feelings, which are the subjective experiences that accompany the emotions. Whereas science has no access to animal feelings, animal emotions are exactly as observable and measurable (behavior, physiology, neural activity) as human emotions. They are mental and bodily states that potentiate behavior appropriate to mostly social situations. I will discuss early ideas about animal emotions and draw upon research on empathy and the perception of emotions in primates to make the point that the study of animal emotions is a necessary complement to the study of behavior. Emotions are best viewed as the organizers of adaptive responses to environmental stimuli.
Frans1M Small
Dr. Frans B. M. de Waal is a Dutch/American biologist and primatologist known for his work on the behavior and social cognition of primates. His scientific work has been published in journals such as Science, Nature, Scientific American, and outlets specialized in animal behavior. His popular books - translated into over twenty languages - have made him one of the world's most visible primatologists. His latest book is Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? (Norton, 2016). De Waal is C. H. Candler Professor in Psychology, Director of the Living Links Center at Emory University, and Distinguished University Professor at Utrecht University. He has been elected to the (US) National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences. In 2007, he was selected by Time as one of The Worlds’ 100 Most Influential People Today.

Website: Living Links
Facebook: Frans de Waal - Public Page


Image credits
Top left: Thinking Bonobos by Frans de Waal
Bottom right: Frans de Waal


Hautnah - The BIOTOPIA-Fest

  • Frosch Mini Text



When?   Saturday, 16. June 2018, 10am - 9pm
Where?   Hubertussaal Schloss Nymphenburg / Museum Mensch und Natur (inside and outside)

Which fabric is our future made of?
What does a lamp shade have to do with algae?
Is spidersilk the material of the future?
Can you grow leather - or even ivory?
Is organic material always more ecofriendly?
Can you still distinguish between natural and synthetic?

Explore the fabric of the future with us: Shoes made of spidersilk, collagen-based leather, design inspired by nature - get an exiciting glimpse on BIOTOPIA and join us for a day full of participative labs, workshops, exhibitions, talks, a children's programme, a scavenger hunt, a fashion show and more...


Image credits
Left: entering the DoS - Lohmann
Top right: Deutsche Meisterschule für Mode
Bottom right: Veronica Ranner, Polyphonic Futures (2014 - aktuell). 'Design Your Silken Self' Workshop, Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2016)


March 2018 - IF Design Award for BIOTOPIA

March 2018 - IF Design Award 2018 for BIOTOPIA
Once again BIOTOPIA has been awarded a price for its new Brand Design - the IF DESIGN AWARD 2018! This internationally recognised price since 1953 annually highlights outstanding industry and communication design.

The jury of this year's iF DESIGN AWARD states: "With the groundbreaking name BIOTOPIA, a vivid logo and the stimulating strapline 'Explore Life' the Bavarian Museum of Natural History has reinvented itself. Stressing the letter 'O', the brand design's wordmark refers to the the nature of life itself. It invites the viewer to engage with the brand, aiming for identification. The logo harnesses curiosity for the museum's goal: the exploration of life sciences, leading towards a more balanced relationship between all living beings. The brand design makes the reinvention of the museum come alive, turns citizens into scientists and works as a lighthouse for life sciences half a decade before the museum opens."

Thanks and congratulations to our design agency "Zeichen & Wunder"!


Second Meeting of the BIOTOPIA Advisory Board

On February 5th and 6th, 2018, the Advisory Board of BIOTOPIA met for the second time. The Advisory Board is made up of international experts, including the Senior Curator of the Department of Architecture and Design of the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MOMA) Paolo Antonelli, or Dr. Ken Arnold, Creative Director of the Wellcome Trust, London and Director of the Medical Museion, Copenhagen and Oron Catts, Director of SymbioticA, Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts, School of Anatomy and Human Biology at the University of Western Australia.

Key issues of the meeting were the progress of the exhibit and architectural planning, the events of 2017 as well as the planned events and networking acivities in Munich and Bavaria for the coming years.

The Advisory Board of BIOTOPIA at ZSM

The meeting programme included a guided tour of the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology, Munich, by Advisory Board member and Director General of the Bavarian Natural History Collections (Staatliche Naturwissenschaftliche Sammlungen Bayerns, SNSB) Prof. Dr. Gerhard Haszprunar. He led the Advisory Board members through the collections and enjoyed presenting his favorite objects.

Picture credits
Group picture on top, F.l.t.r.: Prof. Dr. Gerhard Haszprunar (Bavarian Natural History Collections), Dr. Ulrike Rehwagen (BIOTOPIA), Prof. Dr. Birgit Neuhaus (LMU Munich), Paola Antonelli (MOMA New York), Oron Catts (SymbioticA, University of Western Australia), Prof. Dr. Michael John Gorman (BIOTOPIA), Dr. Thassilo Franke (BIOTOPIA), Stephanie Czerny (DLD Media Group, Munich), Dr. Ken Arnold (Wellcome Trust London and Medical Museion Kopenhagen), Prof. Dr. Benedikt Grothe (LMU Munich), Prof. Dr. Christian Laforsch (University of Bayreuth) | picture bottom left: Paola Antonelli | bottom right: Prof. Dr. Gerhard Haszprunar © Dominic Anders for BIOTOPIA

Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg und Museum Mensch und Natur

A behind-the-scenes-tour through the Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg and a guided tour through the current exhibition of the Museum Mensch und Natur: "How Water is shaping our planet", completed the two-day Advisory Board Meeting.

Picture credits
Picture top left: Prof. Dr. Michael John Gorman (BIOTOPIA) | top right: Oron Catts (SymbioticA, University of Western Australia) and Dr. Ken Arnold (Wellcome Trust London and Medical Museion) | centre left: Employee of Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg | centre centre (bottom): Prof. Dr. Birgit Neuhaus (LMU Munich) | centre right: Anders Thomas (Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg), Prof. Dr. Michael John Gorman, Dr. Ken Arnold | bottom left: Dr. Ken Arnold | bottom right: Dr. Gilla Simon (Museum Mensch und Natur), Oron Catts at Museum Mensch und Natur © Verena Braun, Esther Krumbholz and Dr. Ulrike Rehwagen for BIOTOPIA

Der Beirat unterstützt BIOTOPIA + Zitat
The Advisory Board supports the concept and vision of BIOTOPIA - Naturkundemuseum Bayern.

"BIOTOPIA as world leading museum of life sciences is a fantastic chance for pupils and adults in Munich, Bavaria, Germany and the world. To have a deeper understanding of the world around us will help us as human beings and will help the earth as ecosystem."

(Prof. Dr. Birgit Neuhaus)

Picture credit
The Advisory Board in front of the Hubertussaal, Nymphenburg © Verena Braun for BIOTOPIA

We would like to sincerely thank the Advisory Board members for their dedicated work, critical discussions and valuable contributions toward the development of our new world class museum in Munich!


Art and Biology? Talk by Symbiotica-Founder Oron Catts

What happens when art and biology collide?

Bio-Designer and SymbioticA-Director Oron Catts will, together with his audience, discuss this question in a public talk at the LMU-Biozentrum in Martinsried, room B01.019. The event will take place on February 7th, 12pm, and will be held in English. Everybody is welcome, no entry fee!

More about Oron Catts?
Oron Catts is the Director of SymbioticA, The Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts, School of Human Sciences, The University of Western Australia. Oron Catts is an artist, researcher, designer and curator whose pioneering work with the Tissue Culture and Art Project which he established in 1996 is considered a leading biological art project. In 2000 he co-founded SymbioticA, a biological art research centre at The University of Western Australia. Under Catts’ leadership SymbioticA has gone on to win the inaugural Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica in Hybrid Art (2007) the WA Premier Science Award (2008) and became a Centre for Excellence in 2008. In 2009 Catts was recognised by Thames & Hudson’s “60 Innovators Shaping our Creative Future” book in the category “Beyond Design”, and by Icon Magazine (UK) as one of the top 20 Designers, “making the future and transforming the way we work”. Catts interest is Life; more specifically the shifting relations and perceptions of life in the light of new knowledge and it applications. Often working in collaboration with other artists (mainly Dr. Ionat Zurr) and scientists, Catts have developed a body of work that speaks volumes about the need for new cultural articulation of evolving concepts of life. Catts was a Research Fellow in Harvard Medical School, a visiting Scholar at the Department of Art and Art History, Stanford University, and a Visiting Professor of Design Interaction (2009-2012), and a Professor at Large in Contestable Design (2015-2017) at the Royal College of Arts, London. In 2012-2013 he set up a biological art lab called Biofilia - Base for Biological Art and Design, at the School of Art, Design and Architecture, Aalto University, Helsinki, where he was a Visiting Professor. Catts’ ideas and projects reach beyond the confines of art; his work is often cited as inspiration to diverse areas such as new materials, textiles, design, architecture, ethics, fiction, and food. Catts curated nine exhibitions, developed numerous artistic projects and performances. His work was exhibited and collected by museums such as MoMA NY, Mori art Museum, NGV, GoMA, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, Ars Electronica, National Art Museum of China and more. His work was covered by The NY Times, Washington Post, Wired, New Scientist, Time, Newsweek and other TV, radio, print and online media.



Science, Society, Human - and a taste of BIOTOPIA

  • Wissenschaftstage
  • Wissenschaftstage
  • Wissenschaftstage

When? November 25th-28th, 2017
Where? Markthalle Stand 22, Alte Kongresshalle auf der Theresienhöhe

It is all about plans for the future on this year's Munich Science Days: "Future plans: Research, Society, Human". The 2017 slogan demonstrates the multi-faceted connections between science and society, which are also BIOTOPIA'S leitmotif. This is why BIOTOPIA seeks to contribute to a critical and creative dialogue between scientists and citizen during the Munich Science Days, to raise questions relevant for our future and to provide first insights into the emerging museum.

Along with the Bavarian Natural History Collections BIOTOPIA will be located at stall 22 - and for the especially curious: We will give a first taste on what you can expect in 2018...

More about Munich Science Days here:


Image Credits
Picture 1: Poster 17th Münchner Wissenschaftstage
Picture 2: © BIOTOPIA - Kathrin Glaw
Pciture 3: © Visitors in Moscow at a touring exhibition of GAME from Science Gallery Dublin at Trinity College Dublin



"Not a day without the museum": Even prior to its opening, BIOTOPIA seeks to create excitement for areas like biology, environment and food - by means of a BIOTOPIA Learning Lab. This is supported by BayWa Foundation, which donated 800.000 Euro to the Förderkreis BIOTOPIA e.V. to contribute to the development, setup and operation of the Lab.

BIOTOPIA Learning Lab  Entwurf Konstantin Landuris Studio Webseite

The Learning Lab is a temporary exhibition and event space in the Botanical Gardens Neuhausen-Nymphenburg in Munich. An area comprising 350 square meters in the Botanical Insitute will be adapted to house programmes, public events and small exhibitions next to a kitchen and lab space from 2019 on. A special focus will lie on the topics food and environment.

These are key aspects that BIOTOPIA shares with the BayWa Foundation. The Foundation's aim is to promote sustainable educational projects in the fields of healthy food and renewable energy. By experimenting playfully, children can explore the world of carot, tomatoe & co. in the Learning Lab. BIOTOPIA and the Förderkreis BIOTOPIA are delighted at the wonderful support!

Until construction of BIOTOPIA starts, the current Museum of Man and Nature remains open. During the transition phase up to the reopening as BIOTOPIA, the Learning Lab will be a central venue for the public for all things life sciences.


Picture credits
Top left: BIOTOPIA Learning Lab © Draft by Konstantin Landuris Studio
Bottom right: F.l.t.r.: Prof. Klaus Josef Lutz, chairman of BayWa | Prof. Dr. Michael John Gorman, BIOTOPIA founding director | Maria Thon, CEO BayWa Foundation | Dr. Auguste von Bayern, chairwoman Förderkreis BIOTOPIA | Ferdinand Prinz zur Lippe, baord member Förderkreises BIOTOPIA at the official announcement of the donation during the BayWa charity gala on October 13th, 2017 © Andreas Heddergott for BayWa Foundation


BIOTOPIA wins first prize for Corporate Design

"A completely new kind of museum, that helps visitors to become active researchers themselves" - and a brand which makes this come alive intuitively: This is how the jury of the "Corporate Design Prize" explained their decision to award the new Brand Design and Claim of BIOTOPIA with the first prize in the category "Corporate Design Launch". Congratulations to our design agency "Zeichen & Wunder"!"

The Corporate Design Prize honors Corporate Design (launch), Redesign and CD-Elements which substantially constitute, support and influence visual identity. Outstanding Design and promising ideas troughout Europe can be awarded.




The new vision for BIOTOPIA - Naturkundemuseum Bayern is here! Together with Bavarian Minister of State Dr. Ludwig Spaenle and Bavarian State Secretary Bernd Sibler, BIOTOPIA Founding Director Michael John Gorman introduced the vision for the future museum to over 400 guests on January 10th 2017: To explore life and reconfigure the relationship between humans and other living beings.

BIOTOPIA – Naturkundemuseum Bayern
Maria-Ward-Str. 1a
80638 München, Germany
Phone: +49 (0)89 2180-72191
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