Reimagining The Microbial World

This is a past event

14 people went


Doors open @ 6pm --Come early and meet other Long Now thinkers-- Presentation starts @ 7pm

A Long Now Boston Community Conversation with
Roberto Kolter Director, Kolter lab for Microbiology
Scott Chimileski Microbiologist, Science Photographer and Author

Obtain tickets here at Meetup, or use our Eventbrite option: [CIC members use your discount at Eventbrite; Students must use Eventbrite because we can't set up student tickets here]

Sometimes what you can't see is best. When you can see it, it's even better!

In past decades, surprising scientific discoveries have revealed complex and sophisticated interdependencies between the macro world of human, plant and animal bodies and the invisible microbial world. We are the beneficiaries of billions of years of microbial evolution that encoded biological solutions to environmental challenges in our own genes. But we also receive direct functional benefits from living microbial communities that comprise the bulk of our own bodily ecosystem.

Microbes have enormous and overwhelmingly positive impact on our lives. Our bodies are the bedrock for many unique microbial communities that help keep us healthy. Microbes produce many of our favorite foods, valuable medicines and most of the oxygen we breathe. They are the foundation of the global ecosystem. A few can make us sick. Yet microbes do not work alone – they form complex communities whose collective behaviors drive Earth’s biogeochemical cycles as well as the microbiotic ecosystems supporting all life on Earth.

Scott Chimileski’s photography provides a unique and compelling imagery of the microbial world. While individual microbes are generally invisible to the naked eye, the microbial colonies they create are not. Microbial communities show us how cells self-organize and how multi-cellularity and social behaviors evolve. The shapes, structures, colors and behaviors of the colonies offer a dazzling display of life at work in our macro world. The complex and beautiful structures also exhibit the same emergent properties as human cities and galactic clusters, providing evidence of the fundamental interconnectedness of all things.

$15 in advance // $20 at the door. Students w/ID admitted free.
Audience participation is encouraged.

Roberto Kolter, Director of the Kolter Lab for Microbiology at Harvard Medical School. Research in the Kolter Lab has gravitated around the study of microbes and exploration of subjects ranging from basic bacterial physiology to bioactive compound discovery. Roberto is an author, Professor Emeritus of microbiology at Harvard Medical School and past president of the American Society for Microbiology. Robert joined Harvard in 1983 and has been Co-director of Harvard's university-wide Microbial Sciences Initiative since 2003. In 2016, Kolter became co-blogger (with Moselio Schaechter) of the popular microbiology blog, Small Things Considered.

Scott Chimileski, photographer and microbiologist serving as a Research Fellow at the Kolter Lab at Harvard Medical School. His work is currently featured at the Harvard Museum of Natural History in "Microbial Life: A Universe at the Edge of Sight". Scott coauthored, with Professor Kolter, Life at the Edge of Sight: A Photographic Exploration of the Microbial World. Scott’s images are published by WIRED, TIME, The Atlantic, STAT, The Scientist, NPR, Natural History Magazine, Scientific American, Smithsonian Magazine, Fast Company, and many other outlets. He received a Passion in Science Award from New England Biolabs in 2016 and was winner of FASEB's BioArt competition in 2016 and 2017. Scott earned his PhD in Genetics and Genomics from the UConn.

We’re proud and excited to welcome Roberto and Scott to the Long Now Boston community.

Cambridge Innovation Center is an in-kind sponsor of this Long Now Boston conversation. We are very grateful for their support.