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Celebrity portraits grown from stars' own bacteria

The portraits grown using the subjects' bacteria. Photo: The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair/PA Wire

Well-known faces including Stephen Fry and Carol Vorderman are helping make art out of science by taking part in an experiment to grow portraits using their own bacteria.

The celebrities teamed up with American microbiologist and photographer Zachary Copfer to make the images by contributing a swab covered in bacteria from their arms.

He then took a digital photograph of the stars which was made into a negative and placed over a petri dish and shot through with radiation to burn away the bacteria in places leaving the image to emerge over 48 hours.

Carol Vorderman is among the well-known faces taking part in the project. Credit: The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair/PA Wire

Children's TV presenters Dick and Dom also had their portraits created, along with Hollyoaks star Kieron Richardson and Bang Goes The Theory presenter Liz Bonnin in a bid to promote The Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair where the pictures will go on show.

As a patron of The Big Bang Fair, engaging young people in science, technology, engineering and maths is a very big part of what I do.

It was great fun taking part in this project, and the portrait looks brilliant - it's definitely one of a kind. I hope that by showing young people the interesting and unusual ways that science can be applied, they're inspired to discover more about science and engineering careers for themselves.

– Carol Vorderman
A dish containing a portrait of Stephen Fry grown from his own bacteria. Credit: The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair/PA Wire

The fair takes place in March at the NEC in Birmingham and is aimed at encouraging young people to get involved in science and engineering.

It's been great to have been given the chance to get involved with The Big Bang Fair. I'm particularly excited that my work will be a big part of the fair's central aim to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers - and hope that my work will not only help get young people excited about science but that it will also encourage them to apply the scientific knowledge they gain in fun and unique ways.

– Microbiologist and photographer Zachary Copfer
A portrait of Dominic Wood (of Dick and Dom) grown from his own bacteria. Credit: The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair/PA Wire