I believe my favourite analogy for the Virions: Dead or Alive ?
question is to liken the little varmits to a computer diskette.
A Diskette is a square ( Okay so it does,nt match the grandeur of
Icosahedron but hey my "computer virus" isn't very complex )
of plastic which "encapsidates" a material, in this case mylar film that
contains information. It can do nothing by itself, and in fact over a long
period of time it decays ( A really long time ) However, if put into a
computer, it then can tell the computer what to do, and, like a virus,
depending upon whats on the disk, it can take over and even "kill" the
I realize that this is not the greates analogy, but you would be surprised
to see how well it works when one must describe a virus to an a herd of
11 year olds !
Sorry to hear about Bernard Fields, His book truly is a Bible.
Central Washington University
powerj at cwu.edu