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Illinois IGB


Art of Science Gallery 13



Art of Science image titled In Fragments No Longer
In Fragments No Longer

Scientist Collaborator Ananya Sen

IGB Communications Group

Canon EOS 5


“No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent, A part of the main.”

When the English poet John Donne penned these words 400 years ago, little did he realize how true it would ring in the context of microbiology. We are surrounded by microbes. When we brush past strangers, share a hug with a friend, or even give our loved ones a kiss, we share millions of our microbial friends with each other.

This piece was created through a collaboration of the artist and the writer imprinting their microbial communities on LB plates: a nutritious jelly that is designed to help bacteria grow. At first they used separate plates, as seen on the left. Upon introspection, they also created one where their microbes had a chance to grow together, as seen in the middle plate on the right. Using geometric patterns, the piece poses the question: are we really a hyper individualistic society that takes advantage of the world around us, or are we all mere passengers making  our way through a microbial world that binds us all together with a multitude of invisible connections?