Dr. Angelina Whalley
CURATOR OF BODY WORLDS & DIRECTOR OF THE Institute for Plastination
Since its beginnings in 1995, physician and curator Dr. Angelina Whalley has shaped the image of BODY WORLDS. She has conceptualized and designed all previous exhibitions on both humans and animals.
Through her popular scientific approach, which is woven throughout BODY WORLDS, she has made complex medical issues accessible to a broad lay audience. Her work has inspired an audience of millions worldwide to live healthier lives and be more mindful of their own bodies.
With the exhibitions of plastinated animals, known as ANIMAL INSIDE OUT, she has succeeded in creating an impressive symbiosis of anatomy, didactics, and scenic presentation, with which she sharpens the viewer’s sense of life and the wonder of nature.
In addition to her work as a curator, Dr. Whalley is the Director of the Institute for Plastination, which coordinates BODY WORLDS exhibitions worldwide and which organizes the Institute’s body donation program for plastination.
Angelina Whalley first studied at Freie University in Berlin and later at the University of Heidelberg, where she received her doctorate in 1986, with experimental work on kidney physiology. She then worked for several years at the Institute of Anatomy and the Institute of Pathology at the University of Heidelberg until she took over the management of the Institute for Plastination from her husband, Dr. Gunther von Hagens, in 1997. At the same time, she began to manage BIODUR® Products, a company that sells special plastics and devices for plastination to more than 400 medical schools and universities around the world. In 2003 she founded Arts & Sciences Exhibitions and Publishing GmbH, which organizes scientific touring exhibitions worldwide and is the publisher of exhibition-related materials. Dr. Whalley is the author of several successful books and exhibition catalogues, and a producer of exhibition-related documentaries.
Dr. GUNTHER VON HAGENS
INVENTOR OF PLASTINATION AND CREATOR OF BODY WORLDS
As a physician and anatomist, Dr. Gunther von Hagens invented plastination, with which he revolutionized anatomical education and made health education accessible to a broad lay audience.
He began his medical studies in 1965 at the University of Jena. After failing to flee from East Germany, he became a political prisoner of the GDR in 1969. His freedom was bought by the Federal Republic of Germany in 1970 and he then continued his studies in Lübeck, where he received his license to practice medicine in 1973. He then completed his doctorate in the Department of Anesthesia and Emergency Medicine at the University of Heidelberg. In 1975 he transferred to the Anatomical Institute of Heidelberg University, where he worked for many years as a lecturer and scientific assistant.
As part of his research work there, he invented plastination in 1977, a vacuum technique for the long-term preservation of anatomical preparations with reaction plastics specially developed for this purpose. Soon after, he founded BIODUR® Products, to enable other teaching institutions to use plastination. BIODUR® sells plastics and devices he has developed specifically for plastination. In 1993 he established the privately run Institute for Plastination, which opened new dimensions in the further development of his invention.
Together with Dr. Angelina Whalley, his wife, the first BODY WORLDS exhibition in which plastinates were presented to the public in 1995. BODY WORLDS of Animals (Animal Inside Out) followed in 2010. To date, his anatomical works have been experienced by more than 54 million people.
The invention and further development of the plastination technique brought him many academic honors. In 1996 he was named a visiting professor at Dalian Medical University, PR China, in the same year he also received the title of honorary professor at the Plastination Center of the State Medical Academy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. He has been a visiting professor at the New York University School of Dentistry in the USA since 2004.
In 2006, Gunther von Hagens founded Gubener Plastinate GmbH and, the PLASTINARIUM, set up as the world’s largest center for plastination of humans and animals in Guben, Brandenburg.
The Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) honored him in 2013 for his lifetime achievement and his outstanding contribution to communicating science to a lay audience.
In recent years, due to the progression of his Parkinson’s disease, Dr. von Hagens has largely withdrawn from the public.