Here's a Bacterial Portrait of Stephen Fry Made in a Petri Dish

By Gerald Lynch on at

That's a sentence I'll probably never write ever again. This image of Q.I presenter Stephen Fry is made up of bacteria taken from the actor's own body, grown in a petri dish and preserved under a layer of protective resin.

Created as part of the Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair, which aims to encourage children to engage with science in and outside of the classroom, the process is actually surprisingly simple. A special Pop Art-like negative known as a halftone is created from an image of the celebrity, and placed over a petri dish on which the bacterial cultures are growing. Through this negative and onto the dish is blasted radiation, causing the bacteria which is not obscured by the overlying image to be killed, leaving the resultant "bacteriograph" above.

For an in-depth (yet kid friendly!) look at how the portrait was created, check out the video below.