Microbiologist Recreates 'Starry Night' in a Petri Dish for Art Competition

First Posted: Oct 21, 2015 09:40 AM EDT

When you think of bacteria, you don't usually think of art. In this case, though, one microbiologist has created Vincent van Gogh's "Starry Night" in petri dishes with the help of bacteria.

The new piece of art was actually created by Melanie Sullivan, a microbiologist who submitted her masterpiece to the American Society for Microbiology's first Agar Art contest. This competition encouraged scientists to "paint" with microorganisms within the frame of a petri dish. The results are magnificent, including a picture of Manhattan created with microorganisms in addition to a small, house, created similarly.

First place actually went to "Neurons," which was a work that shows actual neurons "painted" with microorganisms. Second place went to the Google Map view of New York City, titled "NYC Biome MAP."

The images of the petri dishes will be on view this fall at an Agar Art Gallery event hosted by Microbes After Hours. There, you'll be able to see all of the works of art-from butterflies to flowers to portraits-constructed with microorganisms.

For more information about the competition and to view all of the entries, you can visit this site online.

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