Cells are intrinsically artistic. When the right signals tell a cell to divide, it usually splits down the middle, resulting in two identical daughter cells, though stem cells are the exception to the rule. This natural symmetry is visible on the macroscopic scale as well. All living creatures, be they mushrooms or humans, are visibly symmetric, a product of our cells' preference for equilibrium.
Scientists at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) Whitman Center for Visiting Research are curious to know what cues tell a cell to divide at the center. Fred Chang, professor of microbiology at Columbia University, his postdoctoral student Nicolas Minc, and David Burgess, professor of biology at Boston College, are placing sea urchin eggs in snug, microscopic chambers shaped like triangles, squares, rectangles, stars, and ice cream cones to see whether the cell will still split 50-50.