Saturday, February 19, 2011

"Horror" Virus

Image courtesy Jonathan Heras, Equinox Graphics

In a 3-D image, a bacteriophage aggressively attacks a bacterium "B-movie horror style," according to creator Jonathan Heras of Equinox Graphics, Ltd. The digital ambush snagged an honorable mention in the illustrations category of the 2010 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge.

Bacteriophages are viruses with "alien, spindly legs" and sucker-shaped mouths used to "relentlessly pursue their prey," Heras said in a statement. The viruses hijack bacteria's biology and use the victims as virus "replication factories," he said.

Overall, the 2010 entries were "exceptional," communicating science "in a way that the public can understand and appreciate," Monica M. Bradford, Science's executive editor, said in a statement.

"The international competition highlights the innovation and technical expertise of scientists who are able to visually attract a wide audience and engage them to experience the complex nature and beauty of science."

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