This is a guest post from Dr. Geoff Hunt, Public Outreach Specialist at the American Society for Microbiology. You can find him on Twitter at @TheGeoffHunt.
If you are a fan of bioart, consider entering the American Society for Microbiology (ASM)’s Agar Art contest. Now in its sixth year, the contest is the premier opportunity for scientists, artists, and anyone who just wants to show off their ingenuity and skills. Participants from nearly 70 different countries have created hundreds of masterpieces, using just some colored microbes and a plate of agar.
The Agar Art contest presents students with a great introduction to how microbes grow, allowing them to experiment with different conditions and resources, while also expressing their creative sides. For example, this entry from Arwa Hadid includes nine different organisms: why did the artist choose each one? What sort of experimental conditions (incubation time, type of agar) allowed for the creation of this image? What other kinds of images and patterns could be created using these same organisms?
Winning entries have been showcased at Microbe, the ASM’s annual meeting, in the “Microbes Rule!” exhibit at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ, and at the “AMR Challenge” celebration in New York during the 2019 United Nations General Assembly.
New for this year, the ASM has partnered with Edvotek to make at-home agar art kits available. Check them out!
The Agar Art contest is open to all ages, and participants have the chance to win up to $200 in prizes! To learn more about the contest, visit https://asm.org/agarart. Submissions are due by Friday October 23. Let’s get creative!