We know science is cool, but it can also be stunningly beautiful. Every year, Nikon Instruments celebrates the beauty seen under the microscope with the Nikon International Small World Competition, now in its 37th year. It is open to anyone with an interest in microscopy and photography. Experts judge the images based on originality, informational content, technical proficiency and visual impact. The winners were announced on Instagram (@NikonInstruments) this year.

Bram van den Broek of the Netherlands Cancer Institute won first place with his photo of a skin cell expressing an excessive amount of keratin. He came across this peculiar and beautiful skin cell while researching the dynamics of keratin filaments. Second place went to Havi Sarfaty for his photo capturing the flowering head of a Senecio vulgaris, a flowering plant in the daisy family. Sarfaty is a veterinary ophthalmologist and has been taking photos through a microscope for about eight years. His interest sparked from performing eye surgeries under the microscope, and he tends to focus his subjects on samples from the garden.

The winners’ work will be displayed in a full-color calendar as part of a national museum tour and used on the covers of prestigious scientific and industrial journals. To learn more about the contest, visit nikonsmallworld.com.

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