Miniature magnificence in the 2020 Nikon Small World photo awards
Running for almost half a century, the Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition is arguably the world’s premiere microscopic photography contest. This year’s incredible array of winners highlight the contest’s unique balance between art and science offering everything from a surreal close-up of the grooves in an old vinyl record to a stunning image of hippocampal neurons firing.
“For 46 years, the goal of the Nikon Small World competition has been to share microscopic imagery that visually blends art and science for the general public,” says Nikon’s communications manager, Eric Flem. “As imaging techniques and technologies become more advanced, we are proud to showcase imagery that this blend of research, creativity, imaging technology and expertise can bring to scientific discovery. This year’s first place winner is a stunning example.”
This year’s top prize went to a groundbreaking image of a juvenile zebrafish. Captured by a National Institutes of Health team led by Daniel Castranova, the image was part of a research project that revealed for the first time a lymphatic system in zebrafish.
“The image is beautiful, but also shows how powerful the zebrafish can be as a model for the development of lymphatic vessels,” says Castranova. “Until now, we thought this type of lymphatic system only occurred in mammals. By studying them now, the scientific community can expedite a range of research and clinical innovations – everything from drug trials to cancer treatments.”
Second place went to German researchers Daniel Knop for a sublime image showing five distinct stages in a clownfish’s embryonic development. Igor Siwanowicz, from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, took third place with an incredible close look at the tongue of a freshwater snail.
Other highlights offered microscopic perspectives on common objects such as the molecular links in nylon stockings, liquid crystals in an LCD screen, and a perfect knot in a single human hair.
Source: Nikon Small World