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Fri 22.10.2021
Sun 16.01.2022
Curators: prof. dr. Thomas Hertog & Hannah Redler Hawes

The Leuven University Library welcomes you to expand your horizons with this exhibition at the intersection of science and art. Turn back the clock by nearly a century and you’ll find Professor Georges Lemaître in Leuven, penning his theory on the Big Bang for the very first time. It’s this ground-breaking scientific research that is at the heart of the ‘To the Edge of Time’ exhibition. This story of modern cosmology turns the world upside down and expands your horizons.

© Andy Holden, Eyes in Space, courtesy of the artist
© Andy Holden, Eyes in Space, courtesy of the artist


This exhibition reveals the riveting story of scientific discovery behind the Big Bang theory, from Albert Einstein’s revolutionary theory of general relativity (aka the birth of modern cosmology) to Georges Lemaître's discovery of an expanding universe and Stephen Hawkings’ quantum theory and the multiverse. On top of that, a whole host of other scientists from all over the world share their contributions to our present understanding of the cosmos. Worried you aren't ‘sciency’ enough? This is a must-see for everyone.

‘To the Edge of Time’ illustrates the congruence of modern and contemporary works of art and scientific objects, depicting the key stages of the Big Bang theory and modern cosmology’s development. It sheds light on concepts such as space, time, dimensions, geometry, and the size of the universe. Not only that, the very conditions of our existence, our processes of observation, illusion, truth, and the unfathomable nature of reality all come to the fore throughout the exhibition.

This exhibition is the product of a collaboration between KU Leuven cosmologist Thomas Hertog – long-time collaborator of the late Stephen Hawking – and independent curator, Hannah Redler Hawes.


'To the Edge of Time' features works of art by Haseeb Ahmed, Phoebe Boswell, Constantin Brâncuși, Rohini Devasher, Maurits Cornelis Escher, Andy Holden, Gavin Jantjes, Jackie Karuti, Melanie King, John Latham, Liliane Lijn, London Fieldworks, René Magritte, Kazimir Malevich, Cornelia Parker, Katie Paterson, Dawit L. Petros, Sarah Pickering, Leo Robinson, Semiconductor, Conrad Shawcross, Clare Strand, Thomson & Craighead, Stephan Tillmans, Suzanne Treister, Troika, Georges Vantongerloo, Jeronimo Voss, Mark Wallinger, Charmaine Watkiss, Grace Weir en Ni Youyu.


Get ready for the ultimate blend of science and art! Masterpieces from the scientific collections of London’s Science Museum and the Royal Astronomical Society, among others, meet artworks from big 20th century names, such as Constantin Brâncuși, Georges Vantongerloo, and René Magritte, along with works by renowned contemporary artists such as Mark Wallinger, Liliane Lijn, and London Fieldworks. You can also take in new works by Conrad Shawcross, Haseeb Ahmed, and many more.

  • Georges Lemaître, ‘Diagram of the chronological evolution  of the universe’s radius’, 1927 © l'Université catholique de Louvain Archives|Georges Lemaître Archives
    Georges Lemaître, ‘Diagram of the chronological evolution of the universe’s radius’, 1927 © l'Université catholique de Louvain Archives|Georges Lemaître Archives
  • © Troika, Time only exists so that not everything happens at once, 2014. Courtesy of the artist
    © Troika, Time only exists so that not everything happens at once, 2014. Courtesy of the artist
  • Katie Paterson, Totality, 2016 Photo © Ben Blackall, 2016 Courtesy of the Lowry
    Katie Paterson, Totality, 2016 Photo © Ben Blackall, 2016 Courtesy of the Lowry
  • Georges Vantongerloo, Formation de la Matière, 1951 © Mu.ZEE,
    Georges Vantongerloo, Formation de la Matière, 1951 © Mu.ZEE,


Thomas Hertog is a well-known Belgian cosmologist and physicist. He studied physics at KU Leuven, afterwards going on to obtain his PhD under Stephen Hawking at the University of Cambridge in England. Later, he worked as a researcher at the University of California, Santa Barbarain the United States and the Paris Diderot University in France. In 2005, he became a fellow at CERN in Geneva. Hertog was appointed professor at KU Leuven’s Institute for Theoretical Physics in 2011. He is the head of a research group investigating the relationship between the Big Bang and String theory.

Hannah Redler Hawes is a contemporary art curator and researcher, Hannah specialises in projects which raise social, cultural and ethical questions within the fields of art, data, science and technology. She works with museums, galleries, and universities across the world. Alongside her independent practice she is the Director of the Data as Culture art programme at the Open Data Institute. She developed her love of interdisciplinary narratives as Head of Arts Programme at the Science Museum Group, where she worked between 1999 and 2014. Hannah lectures, speaks and writes on multidisciplinary art and curating practices. She trained at Norwich School of Art and the Royal College of Art, London.

Schermopname 90


In tandem with the début of the exhibitions Imagining the Universe at M Leuven and To the Edge of Time at KU Leuven University Library, comes the release of Big Bang – Imagining the Universe.

This book reveals how the universe – from the Neolithic Period to the present day – has captivated our imaginations. In pictures.

With essays by Barbara Baert, Abdelkader Benali, Thomas Hertog, Jan van der Stock, and many others.

Big Bang – Imagining the Universe is available:

  • At the M Leuven museum shops and KU Leuven University Library information desk. Copies are €49.95
  • Online, they are €44.95 with a BANG! Combo ticket purchase.
  • They go for €55 in bookshops.



Available online or at the Leuven University Library information desk.

Purchase a BANG! combo ticket for an affordable visit to the M Leuven exhibits and the Leuven University Library exhibition.


  • Standard: € 10
  • Discount ticket: € 8
  • Combo ticket + M Leuven exhibition: €16

Covid Safe Ticket

A Covid Safe Ticket and proof of identity are required to gain access to the museum. In addition, wearing the mouth mask is mandatory. You can find more information about the CST here.


More information on accessibility can be found here.
Questions about accessibility.

Waiting lists

  • Extra tickets might be made available once the festival has started, depending on the specific setup of the venue. Keep an eye on our website and socials.
  • If a show is sold out, you can also try the evening waiting list. On the evening of shows, there are sometimes empty seats (when people don't show up unexpectedly, for instance). We try to fill these with 'laissez-passers', a last-minute ticket. If you want us to put you on that waiting list, please drop by the Dome Reception from 19:00 onwards on the evening of the show. A ticket is not guaranteed, but it's worth the try!


Universiteitsbibliotheek KU Leuven
Mgr. Ladeuzeplein 21
3000 Leuven
+32 (0)16 32 46 60


M Leuven will also be exhibiting another equally fascinating perspective on the Big Bang at the same time. ‘Imagining the Universe’ highlights art's insatiable curiosity about the origins of the universe, from Antiquity to the 19th century. While you’re there, be sure to check out Richard Long's solo exhibition.

© KU Leuven Libraries
© KU Leuven Libraries


The university's imposing bell tower? Get ready to climb it! You’ll discover fascinating facts about the library’s history on each floor. From the top, you enjoy jaw-droppingly gorgeous views of the entire city.


Thomas Hertog is also co-curator of Cosmos, an exhibition held at the CID - center for innovation and design at Grand-Hornu, near Mons, from 24.10.2021 to 27.02.2022. Discover how the cosmos, celestial objects, physical laws and phenomena inspire the world of design and architecture.