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Artist focuses lens on viruses

Lennart Nilsson shares how to turn laboratory specimens into award-winning art

Marta Paterlini
Lennart Nilsson is 84, but still speaks of scientific photography -- a field he pioneered -- with infectious enthusiasm and emotion. Especially when talking of his latest project, in which he uses a lab at Stockholm's Karolinska Institutet to capture images of viruses at work -- nature's "real biological terrorists," he said.Scientists say Nilsson's work reveals important scientific clues, earning him membership to the Swedish Society of Medicine, and an honorary doctorate in medicine from Karolinska Institutet. "What colleagues of mine found extremely interesting from my pictures is that the viruses show quite different dimensions from each other," Nilsson told The Scientist. "Some viruses are bigger than others and this is something that scientists still do not understand." "It was very crucial for us to see [Nilsson's images of] how the virus attaches to the cell and [what] it looks like," added Pernilla Persson, a scientist who works on...

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