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Art in Petri Dishes

I have to admit that I’m a fan of Crooked Brains. Now, here are some special Petri dishes made by Eshel Ben-Jacob from the School of Physics and Astronomy, Tel Aviv University. I know it has nothing to do with web 2.0 or personalized genetics but I think some fellow bloggers will like these even more than I do (AJ?)

They illustrate the coping strategies that bacteria have learned to employ, strategies that involve cooperation
through communication. These selfsame strategies are used by the bacteria in their struggle to defeat our best antibiotics.

Thus, if we understand the mechanisms behind the patterns, we can learn how to outsmart the bacteria – for example, by tampering with their communication – in our ongoing battle for our health.



7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sid #

    Its beautiful. never knew bacteria can so lovable.

    December 7, 2007
  2. Jo Verran at Manchester Metropolitan University has worked on several projects involving microbiology and art, she may like to comment further.

    December 7, 2007
  3. Jo Verran #

    You’d be amazed at how you can link microbiology with art…
    see magazine of Society for applied microbiology ( March 2007, page36-7.

    December 7, 2007
  4. That’s a great project! Thank you for the link!

    Jo Verran: I’ll take a look at it!

    December 7, 2007
  5. Yazmanta #

    biology is clearly math , and not only in theory :p

    these forms are the same as computer fractals

    January 5, 2009
  6. Hi! This is quite an old thread but I still hope to reach someone out there who are interested in this topic. I was particularly excited to see the beautiful images by Eshel and read the article in the link above. I also appreciated the comment above by Bertalan about the cooperation strategies employed by bacteria to form their cultures and patterns. I am an artist who have gradually come to work in this crossing field. Currently I am working with a very old yogurt culture originating from Eastern Europe that I am cultivating and sharing. This is also is subject of a study of how bacteria form cultures through collaboration and symbiosis and what shape these cultures take and how this can inspire humans to cultivate cultures based on collaboration. I am particularly interested in the process of fermentation. I have come to the point where I need to understand these processes in more depth and I have just started to use microscopes and a camera in hope to follow the growing cultures and learn to understand them visually as well as how they operate as an organism. Being an artist I feel like a total novice in this field and would be so grateful to be able to learn some proper laboratory skills and talk to scientists like yourselves who are working with these processes daily. I am struggling with my microscope and an improvised incubator and my first attempt of cultivating bacteria in petri dishes failed miserably. I have come to the point where I realise that I need a collaborator who is interested in this area of research and who has the lab skills to complement my artistic vision. So this is an open call for anyone who might be interested. I live in England but I would also be happy to travel and SKYPE is a good tool for crossing borders. For more information about my work see This new research is an extended version of the Living Cultures project described on my site. I would love to hear from anyone, and please suggest links to work or research done in this field. My email address is Look forward to hearing from you! Best, Eva Bakkeslett

    October 12, 2012

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