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The new exhibition explores the influence of bacteria in our lives.

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Penabacillus strain. Image courtesy of Tracy Jones (Waddesdon)

The latest exhibition in the Museum of Natural History’s Contemporary Science and Society series opened on Friday, 19th October. Bacterial World explores the reputation of bacteria and counters the popular misconception that they are all bad, or to be feared. Incorporating more than 55 exhibits – spanning monumental art, geological and deep-sea specimens, film, and digital interactives – Bacterial World demonstrates how these tiny organisms wield huge influence over us, shaping the past, present and future of life on our planet.

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Artist Luke Jerram's 28 metre long e-coli sculpture is part of the exhibition. Photo courtesy of Naomi Gibson.

Researchers from the Medical Sciences Division have been heavily involved in the exhibition, with contributions from the Department of Biochemistry and the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology  . Professor Judith Armitage FRS, lead scientific adviser for the exhibition said: “I hope this exhibition goes some way to revealing the generally unknown and unseen vast, diverse world of bacteria... we need to understand microbial communities to be able to continue to control those diseases and to maintain both a healthy body and a healthy planet.” 

Bacterial World is the sixth exhibition in the Museum's Contemporary Science & Society series which focuses on current research being carried out at the University. Previous exhibitions have explored contemporary neuroscience and the genetic history of the people of the British Isles; find out more. 

Visit Bacterial World