Why do we wash our hands after we’ve been riding on public transportation? Is it true that “using the handrails on the subway is like shaking hands with 100 people”? New York City-based typographer and designer Craig Ward heard that urban legend and, inspired by this petri dish handprint created by Tasha Sturm (below), wanted to test it.
In this video from Science Friday, we tour a few subway lines around New York City via his bacteria samples — lots of harmless and beneficial normal flora, as well as a few more suspicious characters. It’s a surprising (or perhaps not so surprising) portrait of a bustling city.
Explore more at PathoMap.org and from The Wall Street Journal: Mapping the Bacteria in New York’s Subways.
And here’s Tasha Sturm‘s petri dish handprint:
The hand print of an 8 year old after playing outside.
I think the microbes look beautiful.
[Tasha Sturm] pic.twitter.com/L2iIJGfHpg
— IM?HIM (@ziyatong) June 6, 2015
Related activity: How to make your own bacterial handprint.
Watch these related microbiology videos next:
• Bacteria Growth, a time-lapse
• Which is better: Soap or hand sanitizer?
• Proper Handwashing, an animation
• Cell vs. virus: A battle for health
• Evolutionary branching in action: Bacteria adapt to antibiotics
• The Secret History of Dirt, a smart soil explainer for all ages
This Webby award-winning video collection exists to help teachers, librarians, and families spark kid wonder and curiosity. TKSST features smarter, more meaningful content than what's usually served up by YouTube's algorithms, and amplifies the creators who make that content.
Curated, kid-friendly, independently-published. Support this mission by becoming a sustaining member today.