Visualising microbes

Things are getting pretty exciting in the Good Germs Bad Germs office. We have a big delivery of microbial testing equipment arriving tomorrow, and will soon start conducting our first 'kitchen safaris' with local households. But what microbial life do we expect to find? And how can we visualise it when we do? 

In an old listed building in the centre of Amsterdam is a brilliant project that takes a very new approach to that question. It houses Micropia, the world's first "museum of microbes". Visitors begin their experience by entering a black-walled lift. When the doors close, it becomes apparent that the lift shaft is open all the way to the ceiling on the floor above, and the ceiling is like a mirror - a vast screen showing live-video of the visitors in the lift below. As the lift begins to rise, the camera beings to zoom in, and it doesn't stop. First it focuses on one person, then zooms in on their face, on their eye, on the mites in their eye, on the bacteria that live in the mites, and finally on the viruses that live in the bacteria. All whilst the lift continues to rise. As a way of visualising the scale and ubiquity of microbial life, it's an impressive experience. The museum that it leads to is pretty impressive as well!

For those who aren't visiting Amsterdam in the near future, it's worth checking out their website - full of cleverly designed visualisations of microbial life, and some fascinating stories about recent scientific developments. Our favourite feature is their short film 'meet your microbes'; what's yours?