As part of its outreach activities at the USA Science and Engineering Festival held April 25-27 in Washington DC, the Biophysical Society taught visitors how to make origami virus heads. The activity–folding paper–drew children in and raised their curiosity. “Is this really what a virus looks like?” was asked repeatedly by visitors throughout the weekend. The Society was fortunate to have volunteer members on hand to not only help children make the viruses, but also to answer questions and talk about viruses, their shape, and how they attack cells. There was also a picture of a spider head virus on display so that particpants could see how realistic their orgami creations were.
Special thanks to our member volunteers Dorothy Beckett, University of Maryland; Kaitlyn Gerhart, Georgetown University; Tamara Litwin, NIH; Steve Metallo, Georgetown; Keith Mickolajczyk, Penn State University; Bob Nakamoto, University of Virginia; Xiangyun Qiu, George Washington University; and Ling Chin Wan, NIH.
The illustrations below demonstrate how to make an origami virus head. Click on them to see a larger version and to print them for your own outreach activities.