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The artist Kenneth Eward provides a glimpse of what it might be like to gaze through a strand of DNA if you were on the inside. All of his images are digital and are made using 3-D animation software, Photoshop, and molecular modeling software.

The idea for these pictures came to him when he was asked to create an image of DNA for a story in National Geographic magazine about genetics and the cosmos. Eward wanted to emphasize the spiral nature of DNA.

“For the assignment, I realized that conventional ways of visualizing DNA—as a ladder, or ball and stick assemblage—wouldn’t work here,” says Eward, who lives in Michigan. “The result was Nautilus, a fluid, organic portrayal of DNA.”

Nautilus, 1999. Digital print.

Spiral 1, 2003. Digital print.

Spiral 4, 2003. Digital print.

Eward based the images on structural models of DNA and draws inspiration from the pioneering x-ray crystallography done by Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins in the 1950s that helped James Watson and Francis Crick determine the structure of DNA.

The 50th anniversary of the discovery of DNA’s structure last year led Eward to create more DNA images, and he completed a Web exhibit of this work in March 2003. He was recently honored in the 2004 Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge sponsored by Science magazine and the National Science Foundation.

See more works by Kenneth Eward at

— Kate Ruder

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