Mini marvels mesmerize in Nikon Small World photomicrography awards
From striking close-ups of an igniting match to a mouse embryo and a micrometeorite, the winners of the annual Nikon Small World photomicrography competition have been unveiled. As always, this year’s stunning images capture the wonder of the tiny hidden universe all around us.
Currently in its 49th year, the Nikon Small World photo competition sits at the intersection of science and art. The images are captured using a variety of microscopy techniques to magnify the minuscule details most of us miss, with popular subjects including human, animal and plant cells, developing embryos, and extreme insect close-ups. They’re important not just for their beauty, but their scientific relevance.
Case in point: this year’s winning image was taken by Hassanain Qambari and Jayden Dickson, and it depicts the head of a rodent’s optic nerve. The yellow sections dominating the image are astrocytes – supporting cells of the central nervous system – while contractile proteins can be seen in red and retinal vasculature in green. Apart from being enthralling to stare into, the image helps the study of diabetic retinopathy, which occurs when prolonged high blood sugar damages blood vessels in the eye.
Second place was awarded to Ole Bielfeldt, for an image showing a matchstick catching fire as it’s struck across the box. The action was captured within one 8,000ths of a second, providing a unique glimpse into an everyday reaction.
Third place went to Malgorzata Lisowska, for her microscopic portrait of breast cancer cells with an uncanny heart shape in the center.
For more microscopic marvels, browse the top 20 winners – plus some highlights from the honorable mentions and image of distinction lists – in our gallery. If that’s not enough, check out our galleries of previous year’s entries.
Source: Nikon Small World