The world looks different under a microscopic lens. A tiny lump of crystallized copper oxide looms like a supervillain’s fortress, all harsh facades and jutting angles. Spiders stare out of their portraits with alien gazes. A panel of microscopy experts and science journalists, including Ben Guarino of The Washington Post, judged thousands of entries for the 45th Annual Nikon Small World microscopy competition this summer at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass. Photographers from nearly 100 countries submitted images from across the breadth of science, including geology and chemistry. But blown-up biology ruled the day, with images of embryos, cells, plants, vasculature, organs and animals. The best photos, some showcased here, combined art and science to magnify beauty.
First place was awarded to microscopy technician Teresa Zgoda and recent university graduate Teresa Kugler for their stunning photo of a turtle embryo. The two prepared the photo using a technique called image-stitching, which required Zgoda and Kugler to stack and stitch together hundreds of images to create their winning photograph.
“Microscopy lets us zoom in on the smallest organisms and building blocks that comprise our world — giving us a profound appreciation for the small things in life that far too often go unnoticed,” Kugler said. “It allows me to do science with a purpose.”
In addition to the overall winner, Nikon Small World recognized 88 photos from over 2,000 submissions around the world. Check out @NikonInstruments on Instagram to see the images.
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