Sr. Photo editor for Digital Engagement

First place — Immortalized human skin cells expressing fluorescently tagged keratin, Amsterdam. (Bram van den Broek, Andriy Volkov, Kees Jalink, Nicole Schwarz and Reinhard Windoffer/Netherlands Cancer Institute, BioImaging Facility and Department of Cell Biology)

Second place — Senecio vulgaris, a flowering plant seed head, Yahud-Monoson, Israel. (Havi Sarfaty/Eyecare Clinic)

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

Third place — Living Volvox algae releasing its daughter colonies, Nantes, France. (Jean-Marc Babalian)

Fourth place — Taenia solium (tapeworm) everted scolex, Rochester, N.Y. (Teresa Zgoda)

Fifth place — Mold on a tomato, Netanya, Israel. (Dean Lerman)

Sixth place — Lily pollen, Southampton, United Kingdom. (David A. Johnston/University of Southampton/University Hospital Southampton, Biomedical Imaging Unit)

Seventh place — Individually labeled axons in an embryonic chick ciliary ganglion, Nagoya, Japan. (Ryo Egawa/Nagoya University, Graduate School of Medicine)

Eighth place — Newborn rat cochlea with sensory hair cells (green) and spiral ganglion neurons (red), Bern, Switzerland. (Michael Perny/ University of Bern, Institute for Infectious Diseases)

Ninth place — Growing cartilage-like tissue in the lab using bone stem cells (collagen fibers in green and fat deposits in red), Southampton, United Kingdom. (Catarina Moura, Sumeet Mahajan, Richard Oreffo and Rahul Tare/University of Southampton, Institute for Life Sciences)

10th place — Phyllobius roboretanus (weevil), Keszthely, Hungary. (Csaba Pintér, University of Pannonia/Georgikon Faculty, Department of Plant Protection)

11th place — Plastic fracturing on credit card hologram,Grand Prairie, Tex. (Steven Simon/Simon Photography)

12th place — Opiliones (daddy longlegs) eye, Issaquah, Wash. (Charles Krebs/Charles Krebs Photography)

13th Place — Exaerete frontalis (orchid cuckoo bee) from the collections of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Ramsbury, United Kingdom. (Levon Biss/Levon Biss Photography Ltd.)

14th Place — Common Mestra butterfly (Mestra amymone) eggs, laid on a leaf of Tragia sp. (Noseburn plant), Austin (David Millard)

15th Place — Third-trimester fetus of Megachiroptera (fruit bat), Greeley, Colo. (Rick Adams/University of Northern Colorado, Department of Biological Sciences)

More on In Sight:

See the stunning images that won Nikon Small World’s microscope photography contest 2016

The hidden language of bird feathers

‘Massive landscapes, deep valleys, canyons … it’s a trick of the eye’: Joseph Philipson’s photographs of lines in the sand

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