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Luke Jerram's viral crystals: beautiful but deadly

Artist Luke Jerram has an unusual line in creativity. He takes some of the world's deadliest diseases and turns them into grand works of art. These include large, transparent glass sculptures of viruses, such as swine flu and HIV, as well as bacteria and other infectious agents. The aim, says Jerram, is to highlight the terrible beauty of these infectious agents, microbes that can have a devastating impact on global health and which have been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of millions of people over the centuries. "People think microbes are bright purple beasts," adds Jerram. "In fact, they are mostly transparent." Hence the use of glass as the key medium for his sculptures.

The sculptures created by Jerram are the result of his collaboration with virologist Andrew Davidson from the University of Bristol and involve using a combination of different scientific photographs and models. Then those designs are turned into glassy reality through the expertise of glassblowers Kim George, Brian Jones and Norman Veitch.

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