Microbiologist recreates ‘Starry Night’ with bacteria in a petri dish

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The last place you’d expect to find beauty is in a petri dish, but Missouri microbiologist Melanie Sullivan would be the first to prove you wrong.

In an impressively accurate interpretation of Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” painting, Sullivan used bacteria to create visions of swirls, wind, fog, and moonlight.

Sullivan submitted her artwork to the American Society for Microbiology’s first Agar Art contest, a competition inviting microbiologists to get in touch with their cultural sides by exploring the infectious beauty of infectious bacteria, the Huffington Post reports.

Check out some of the other contest submissions below:

First place: Mehmet Berkmen and Maria Penil, “Neurons,” composed of Nesterenkonia, Deinococcus and Sphingomonas bacteria.

Second Place: Maria Eugenia Inda, “Harvest Season,” composed of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a species of yeast.

“Chicago,” created with  species of Staphylococcus, a common skin commensal.

“NYC Biome Map,” composed of multiple petri dishes of bacteria modified with fluorescent protein under UV light.

“Flowering Sunshine” by Manal Hamed of Qatar.


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