The tiny winners of Nikon's Small World photo contest (pictures)
Stunning views of diminutive worlds, seen through the eyes of microscopes.
Embryos of the species Molossus rufus
Physicist and scientific innovator Albert Einstein said that "all religions, arts, and sciences are branches of the same tree," and the Nikon International Small World Photomicrography Competition brings powerful proof of the artlike beauty of science.
The competition is regarded as the leading forum for showcasing the beauty and complexity of our life as seen through the light microscope -- highlighting the colors, forms, lines, and life of the infinitely tiny world that exists all around us.
From abstract images of common fruit flies to research photographs of the development of the embryos of zebra fish, photographs taken through the eyes of microscopes show the power of such imaging to the academic community as well as its accessibility to those who simply appreciate the art of photography.
Dorit Hockman from Cambridge university's Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience captured this image of embryos of the species Molossus rufus, the black mastiff bat.
This image was awarded 20th place in the competition. Click through the slide show to take a look at the rest of the Top 20 winners.
A stinging nettle trichome on a leaf vein, magnified 100x, taken by Charles Krebs from Charles Krebs Photography in Issaquah, Wash., was the 17th place winner in the 2012 Nikon International Small World Photomicrography Competition.
Jose R. Almodovar Rivera of the biology department at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez captured this 10x photograph of the Pistil of Adenium obesum, a species of flowering plant in the dogbane family, Apocynaceae, that's native to the Sahel regions, south of the Sahara from Mauritania and Senegal to Sudan.
The image was awarded 14th place in the 2012 Nikon International Small World Photomicrography Competition.
Dr. Diana Lipscomb of the Department of Biological Sciences at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., captured this 400x photograph of Sonderia sp. -- a ciliate protozoa that feeds on various algae, diatoms, and cyanobacteria.
The image was awarded 13th place in the 2012 Nikon International Small World Photomicrography Competition.
Dr. W. Ryan Williamson from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Ashburn, Vir., captured this otherworldly image of a common fruit fly's visual system halfway through pupal development, showing the retina (in gold), photoreceptor axons (in blue), and the brain (in green) at 1,500x.
The image was awarded fourth place in the 2012 Nikon International Small World Photomicrography Competition.
Dr. Dylan Burnette from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., shows a unique, 63x view of human bone cancer showing the actin filaments (in purple), the mitochondria (in yellow), and DNA (seen in blue).
The image was awarded third place in the 2012 Nikon International Small World Photomicrography Competition.
Dr. Jennifer L. Peters & Dr. Michael R. Taylor from the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., captured the stunning detail of the blood-brain barrier in a live zebra-fish embryo at 20x.
The image was awarded First place in the 2012 Nikon International Small World Photomicrography Competition.
Photo by: Dr. Jennifer L. Peters & Dr. Michael R. Taylor / Caption by: