Physarum Vivisection

After irradiation. The left side was protected from exposure and the right side irradiated.

After irradiation. The left side was protected from exposure and the right side irradiated.

After irradiation. The left side was protected from exposure and the right side irradiated.

After irradiation. The left side was protected from exposure and the right side irradiated.

The healthy culture prior to irrdation

The healthy culture prior to irrdation

The beautiful yellow slime mould Physarum polycephalum has a simple intelligence and can decide whether life is getting better or worse and move accordingly, solve the shortest route through a maze, and has a memory. I wonder if it can feel pain? I’m not entirely comfortable with this but I’m looking at ways of shaping this microorganism into living and pulsing designs or figures by etching into its sensitive flesh using powerful electromagnetic radiation. Here one half of a healthy culture has been exposed to the radiation and the other not. The effect is quite dramatic to say the least, but is this ethical?

3 thoughts on “Physarum Vivisection

    • Hi Sarah

      Thanks for this. A number of reasons. To see how it will respond and if we can use the technique to shape its appearance. To explore ethics as these relate to microorganisms

      It also regenerates very readily, so the experiment isn’t as “cruel” as it might a first seem.

      Best wishes

      Simon

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