‘Glass Microbiology’ Magnifies Viruses, Bacteria, and Other Organisms to 1 Million Times Their Actual Size

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A photo of a glass vaccine sculpture

“AstraZeneca vaccine.” All images © Luke Jerram, shared with permission

Bristol-based artist Luke Jerram (previously) continues to add delicate specimens to his Glass Microbiology collection. The ongoing project is a collaboration with scientists at the University of Bristol, who aid Jerram in scaling three-dimensional renderings of avian flu, papillomavirus, the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, and other tiny organisms into sculptures approximately one million times their actual size. Transparent and impeccably detailed, the models are designed to showcase the structures of each microbe without distorting the viewer’s perception with non-existent colors, which are often used to distinguish various parts in illustrated renderings.

Jerram documents the process behind his swine flu sculpture in the video below, which begins with two artists hand-blowing the larger structure. The team then shapes hundreds of individual proteins that will later be fused to the virus’s exterior. Find more of the scientifically minded project on the Glass Microbiology site, and follow Jerram’s latest works on Instagram.

 

A photo of a glass virus sculpture

“Papillomavirus”

A photo of three glass virus sculptures

A photo of a glass virus sculpture

“Avian Flu 2012”

A photo of a glass virus sculpture

“EV1 (Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease)”

A detail photo of a glass vaccine sculpture

Detail of “AstraZeneca vaccine”

A photo of a glass parasite sculpture

“Giardia”

A photo of a glass ameoba sculpture

“Ameoba”

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