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The Best Scientific Image Of The Year Was A Hand-Painted Watercolor

Stashed in: Science!, Awesome, Ebola!

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I had no idea what this was till I read the explanation:

In his winning image, Goodsell depicts a microscopic particle of Ebola sliced down the middle to reveal its vibrant inner workings. This is actually a lot more complicated than it sounds—asScience points out, figuring out the exact mechanism by which Ebola thrives has been a significant problem for scientists trying to stop it, because it acts so fast. Here's what you're seeing: the Ebola particle has hijacked a membrane from a patient's host cell—depicted in pink—and put out studs of infected proteins on its surface—seen here in turquoise. These studs are what infects other nearby cells. The genetic blueprint of the cell is seen in yellow, while the green coating and blue strings support the overall structure. "I think they give a nice intuitive feel for how crowded cells are, and the complexity of cells," Goodsell says in a video about the award.

The painting was created as part of an ongoing project where Goodsell illustrates molecules in the RCSB Protein Data Bank to make them more accessible to students who might not otherwise venture into the archive, as he explains in the video. He calls the project "one of the great joys of my life right now."

The video is worth watching:

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