Nature & Wildlife

Beautiful Bacteria: Encounters in the Microuniverse

A leading bacteria scientist combines unique scientific and artistic techniques, along with accessible text to reveal the microbial world within and around us.

Beautiful Bacteria merges stunning imagery with a new way of looking at something we interact with every day. Each chapter introduces the different types of bacteria, illustrated with singularly beautiful images of these minute life forms and an approachable text that explains where bacteria is located and what it does. Much as New York Times bestseller I Contain Multitudes did, Beautiful Bacteria brings the invisible world that has shaped our species to life.

While we know microbes in our world are relevant, the focus of this book is what the invisible, microbial world looks like, where it comes from, and where new discoveries and biotechnology are taking us. Looking at the microbial world reveals countless questions about life and connects with the personal realm of bacteria in our daily lives. From the dazzling patterns of Proteus mirabilis to the shimmering fractals of E. coli and more, each chapter touches upon the little-seen microscopic universe and the impact it has on our macroscopic society, and sheds light on how we coexist in an increasingly biotechnological world.

About The Author

Tal Danino is a professor in the department of biomedical engineering at Columbia University in the City of New York. He directs an interdisciplinary synthetic biology lab that “programs” bacteria, and transforms these microbes into artworks using various forms of media. Originally from Los Angeles, Tal received a PhD in bioengineering from the University of California–San Diego, did his postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is a TED Fellow.

  • Publish Date: March 26, 2024
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Category: Photography - Subjects & Themes - Plants & Animals
  • Publisher: Rizzoli Electa
  • Trim Size: 8 x 10
  • Pages: 184
  • US Price: $50.00
  • CDN Price: $67.50
  • ISBN: 978-0-8478-9986-9


"In the latest revelation of the subvisual, BEAUTIFUL BACTERIA: Encounters in the Microuniverse, Tal Danino, a biomedical engineer and founder of the Synthetic Biological Systems Laboratory, isolates all kinds of bacteria, dyes them, nurtures their growth and photographs them in petri dishes lit into wild neon tondos.... [T]his is an exercise in aesthetic response. Why do we keep reading man-made things — stained glass, bulls-eyes, sonograms — into these marvelous organic accidents? Maybe we’ve reached a level of Anthropocene where humans dictate not only the habitability of Earth but its legibility, too. Life imitating art, down to its molecules." — NEW YORK TIMES