Since 1983, electron microscopist Cynthia Goldsmith has captured the beauty of deadly viruses.

When Cynthia Goldsmith hears the word “flu,” the image that immediately comes to mind isn’t one of sniffling noses or feverish foreheads. She thinks of a football-shaped pincushion, with a thick envelope spiked with tiny, thin rods. She sees the shape of the virus.

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