Last Tuesday was the Brit Design Award of the Year Nominees party. It took place in the Design Museum in London, which was full of wonderful displays showing off cars, computer games, small models of architectural wonders and some random coloured bacteria...
The display table showing off the E. chromi project (i.e coloured bacteria) was almost exclusively organised by Daisy and James, our two awesome designers. One side covered the work we did during iGEM, with resin moulds made to look like bacterial streaks for each colour, next to very diluted DNA preps for each sample (homeopathic DNA by the time I'd diluted it enough to be acceptable for display purposes :p ).
The DNA sequence is written above the test-tube. It was hard to take this picture without a reflection of the camera showing. Also there were people behind me who wanted to actually see the display and I didn't want to block them for too long.
The other side of the table was the colour-futures side, which featured various potential applications of our work. Pride of place was for the Scatalog, the wonderful idea of using coloured bacteria to sense any internal infections or illnesses by swallowing bacteria in a Yakult-style yoghurt drink and producing a clear colour signal in, well, in poo. We also had a prototype kanamycin bomb, used by future protesters against colour patenting to wipe out the bacteria responsible for specific colour production.
Orange Liberation Front - free the rainbow!
The most amazing thing about this, more amazing than being nominated for anything, was that people were seeing our work. That's something that I'm learning doesn't happen all that much in science. Unless it's published, work barely gets out the lab, and even then unless you're very lucky it seems to stay within the field you're working in. To suddenly see a large number of random people looking at our work was a fascinating experience. Not all of them totally understood it, and the fake-poo in the scatalog certainly got some very odd looks but it was getting out there. In public.
I love designers. They make my science awesome :D