Medicinal chemistry professor Ashraf Abadi was speechless when he first saw his likeness in Chemdraw, a software package typically used for sketching molecular structures and reactions, says the artist, Lina El-Sharkawy. The drawing is made up of chemical bonds, space-filling atomic models, stereochemical indicators, and other items from the chemistry palate. Now a PhD student at the University of Manchester, at the time she was a master’s student working under Abadi at the German University of Cairo. El-Sharkawy had long made pencil drawings, a hobby she picked up from her mother, a medical doctor who also had a flair for visual art. It was Abadi who first suggested she try using Chemdraw to showcase her artistic abilities. But he was not expecting a portrait of himself. “He stared at the portrait for a while then said ‘It is fantastic, this guy is more elegant than what I look like,’ ” she says.
Submitted by Lina El-Sharkawy
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