Celebrities including Stephen Fry and Carol Vorderman have joined up with The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair in a weird and wonderful scientific experiment to grow portraits made of their own bacteria

The “bacteriographs” are made from the subjects’ own cells – and have been grown by Zachary Copfer, an American microbiologist and photographer. 

To make the Pop Art style images, Zachary cleverly exposes areas of a petri dish to radiation in order to stimulate the bacteria’s growth. This creates a photograph grown entirely from the bacteria itself. Zachary is the only person in the world practicing this art, which he terms “Bacteriography”. This is the first time his work has been brought to the UK.

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Carol and Stephen have been joined by the cheeky Spamalot stars and presenters of Absolute Genius, Dick & Dom, Hollyoaks heartthrob Kieron Richards, and TV personality and presenter of Bang Goes the Theory Liz Bonnin in creating these truly unique works of art made from their own bacteria. Each of the celebrities will be given their “bacteriography” portrait as a gift to hang on their wall – an extra special piece of art to add to their collection.

You can see how the process works in our videos below. 



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See if you can guess the celebrity bacteriograph as they emerge. Is it Stephen or Liz? Maybe it’s Kieron? You’re up against the clock, so make sure you’re quick!

Play here

See the bacteriographs for yourself at The Big Bang Fair

You can see the bacteriographs for yourself - along with lots more besides - at The Big Bang Fair at the NEC, Birmingham between 13 and 16 March. All tickets are free and we welcome family and community groups on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 March. You can book your free places here.




If you don't have a Facebook account, you can take the bacteriograph challenge here