11 days left for Foldscope – origami microscopes – on Kickstarter

11 days left for Foldscope – origami microscopes – on Kickstarter

When I first heard that Foldscope was launching a Kickstarter to make these amazing origami paper microscopes available to the public, I put 2 different questions up on several of my social media sites: I’m thrilled out of my mind to be writing a post about this new good quality, “disposable”, CHEAP compound (uses microscope slides) microscope. Oh yeah – it’s 140X magnification – you can see bacteria What would you look at if you had such a thing? It’s practically indestructible (can step on it, throw it off a building, run it through the washing machine), it’s about the size of a 3X5 card and fits in your pocket. Runs on watch battery or just held up to a light. If you are a “career-biologist” – How would you use this to teach people about the wonders of science and our everyday (microscopic) world? If you are not a career-biologist – Just wondering what would be interesting to YOU. Is there anything you’d use it for? The feedback was AMAZING! Check out the suggestions and excitement: From the biologists look at: Take my kids on a TARDIGRADE hunt Pond water, leaf litter, whatever is around me Blood and fecal smears with

Weird Tiny Life Through the Lens

Weird Tiny Life Through the Lens

There’s nothing weirder or more beautiful than microscopic life. My interview for Weird Animal Question of the Week and some additional images. Since the first time I peered at pond water under the microscope, I’ve been transfixed by this tiny world. It’s beautiful, amazing, and often seems unreal. The patterns, structures, and neat lifestyles of microscopic critters are simply mind-blowing. Nowadays I most frequently think of bacteria, but there’s sooo many other interesting microscopic things as well – from viruses and fungi to microscopic insects, mites, and relatives of crabs, to  single-celled algae and protists. I was thrilled beyond belief when Liz Langley, a science writer for National Geographic’s Weird Animal Question of the Week, asked me about interesting microscopic life. It was so much fun talking to Liz and thinking of some of the rest of the microscopic world I wanted to put up some other beautiful and interesting microscopic critter links if anyone is interested. Ernst Hackel’s drawings are simply phenomenal: Art Forms in Nature (also with CD of images, or a coloring book version; art blog post)     Jabez Hogg’s The Microscope also has some pretty amazing drawings of microscopic life in it. Some of the plates are isolated nicely

Putting the Lid on “Culture as Medium”

Putting the Lid on “Culture as Medium”

Art and science exhibit “Culture as Medium” grew and evolved through its stay in Baltimore. “Culture as Medium” colonized Baltimore during April and May, 2106. An art/science exhibit curated by Margaret MacDonald, Culture as Medium brought art work done with or inspired by microbes to Baltimore. Curator MacDonald, partnered with the Baltimore Under Ground Science Space (BUGSS), Project Bridge, and Mostly Microbes to provide the perfect bacterial incubator of art and science. I stumbled onto the exhibit through my now favorite social media outlet – Twitter. Dr. Francois Lapointe, a professor of Biology at University of Montreal, Canada posted an article about his “microbiome selfies”. Reading that he’d be performing next in Baltimore, I contacted him. He quickly put me in touch with the curator of the exhibit, Margaret McDonald. “Culture as Medium” was Margaret’s brain child and thesis project for her Master’s of Fine Arts in Curatorial Practice at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Formally a chemist, Margaret became interested in the intersection of art and science.  She knew that Baltimore with its strong artistic and scientific communities was an ideal setting for an art-science exhibit.

Let it Glow – Let it Glow – It Can’t Hold it Back Anymore!

Let it Glow – Let it Glow – It Can’t Hold it Back Anymore!

At first, the room is pitch black. My eyes adjust to the darkness and I see two eerie blue-green glowing columns of plastic petri dishes stacked on a table. “Ready? Hold still for 15 seconds”. Click…..click. “Lights”. So began the first #LuxArt portraiture session at the American Society for Microbiology Conference for Undergraduate Educators (ASMCUE) with Dr. Mark O. Martin, University of Puget Sound. Glowing bacteria? Photography by bacterial light? The eerie glow is from a highly bioluminescent, non-pathogenic strain of bacteria Photobacterium leiognathi KNH6 . First collected from K āne ʻohe Bay, O’ahu Hawaii by Dr. Ned Ruby, University of Hawaii and Dr. Eric Stabb, University of Georgia, this nonpathogenic bacterium is unusually bright, produce enough light that you can read by it. Bacterial candlelight, as it were. Outshining its cousins Vibrio sp., Photorhabdus luminescens, and Pseudomonas, scientists are unraveling P. leiognathi’s glowing super power.   Painting with glowing bacteria.  What better way to get students anyone excited about microorganisms? Dr. Mark O. Martin, a self-proclaimed “Microbial Supremacist” uses glowing bacteria to entice students to explore the mysteries of microbiology. Now fellow microbiology educators at ASMCUE created #LuxArt and had #LuxSelfies made. “Doc” Martin was first captivated by bioluminescence as a young

Time is Running Out for “Culture as Medium”

Time is Running Out for “Culture as Medium”

  If you are in the Baltimore area between now and May 20th and haven’t experienced an aspect of the science-art exhibit – Culture as Medium – time is running out! Culture as Medium, celebrates Baltimore as a growing and thriving biotechnology and artistic hot spot, while encompassing the complexity and diversity of the city. The exhibit explores the intersection of art and science through exhibiting art by internationally recognized scientists and artists, as well as several performance art/science opportunities. Culture as Medium is an “evolving” exhibit inviting visitors to explore and merge the boundaries of art and science, the visible and invisible portions of our world. Opening at the Motor House Curated by Margaret MacDonald of the Maryland Institute of Art (MICA), Culture as Medium, spans different areas of the city. The first installation of the exhibit opened at the Motor House in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District on April 1st. Dr. François Joseph Lapointe from the University of Montreal conducted a performance “microbiome selfie” collecting microbiome samples from his tongue every 10 minutes after eating kimchi for an hour. Kimchi was chosen for his food microbiome selfie to honor the Koren population in the surrounding area. Visitors