British artist Luke Jerram makes beautiful microbiology-inspired glass sculptures in complex, crystal-clear detail, often depicting deadly pathogens. The idea to make accurate three-dimensional representations of these malignancies in glass came from the fact that Jerram is color blind. This propagated his interest in how we see the world and through his work he wants to explore the edges of perception.
Early on in his research he discovered that, unlike what many textbooks and medical illustrations show us, viruses have no color as they are smaller than the wavelength of visible light. Electron microscopic images are often digitally colored and therefore, making the viral sculptures in transparant glass allows Jerram to show how the viruses really are – colorless.
Jerram has a close collaboration with virologists from the University of Bristol and blends electron microscopic data, abstract chemical models and diagrams to come to the most correct scientific model to date. This close collaboration is necessary to pursue highly accurate sculptures since the scientific understanding of a virus changes year by year and liaising with experts in the field, Jerram is able improve his models accordingly. He extends his collaborations to the manufacturing side as well where he creates technical drawings for each model for expert glassblowers to make.
The fact that his work is so scientifically precise, made his sculptures appear on the cover of several peer-reviewed scientific journals such as Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, and scientific books such as Virology by John Carter and Venetia Saunders.
Check out more work of this amazing artist on his website!
All images are courtesy of www.lukejerram.com.