We marvel at the wonders of our universe on a daily basis here at GFR, but if we’re being honest then that usually means drooling over some new batch of astronomy pictures. But science is forever revealing that there is just as much beauty in the very, very small as there is in the heavens above. For proof, you need look no further than the 2013 winners of Nikon’s Small World Photomicrography Competition.
As you might guess from that moniker, the competition challenges photographers to serve up images of the microscopic world all around us, and a whole different reality that usually escapes our notice because it’s too small to be seen with the naked eye. Nikon posted 20 winners for this year, and you can see the gorgeous results throughout this post.
Up top you can see the first place winner, a “Chaetoceros debilis (marine diatom), a colonial plankton organism (250x)” photographed by Wim van Egmond of Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
And here’s the second place winner: “Chrysemys picta (painted turtle) retina (400x),” photographed by Dr. Joseph Corbo of St. Louis, Missouri.
Third place: “Marine worm (20x),” photographed by Dr. Alvaro Migotto of Sao Paulo, Brazil
Fourth place: “Paramecium sp. showing the nucleus, mouth and water expulsion vacuoles (40x),” photographed by Rogelio Moreno Gill of Panama City, Panama
Fifth place: “Hippocampal neuron receiving excitatory contacts (63x),” photographed by Dr. Kieran Boyle of Glasgow, Scotland
Sixth place: “Chamaeleo calyptratus (veiled chameleon) embryo showing cartilage (blue) and bone (red),” photographed by Dorit Hockman of Cambridge, United Kingdom
Seventh place: “Adhesive pad on a foreleg of a ladybird beetle (Coccinella septempunctata) (20x),” photographed by Dr. Jan Michels of Kiel, Alberta, Germany
Eighth place: “Barbilophozia sp. (a leafy liverwort, bryophyte plant) and cyanobacteria (50x),” photographed by Magdalena Turzanñska of Wroclaw, Poland
Ninth place: “Insect wrapped in spider web (85x),” photographed by Mark A. Sanders of Minneapolis, Minnesota
10th place: “Thin section of a dinosaur bone preserved in clear agate (10x),” photographed by Ted Kinsman of Rochester, New York
11th place: “Macrobrachium shrimp (ghost shrimp) eye (140x),” photographed by Vitoria Tobias Santos of Macaé, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
12th place: “Silicon dioxide on polydimethylglutarimide-based resist (200x),” photographed by Dr. Pedro Barrios-Perez of Ottowa, Ontario, Canada
13th place: “Mouse vertebra section (200x),” photographed by Dr. Michael Paul Nelson & Samantha Smith of Birmingham, Alabama
14th place: “Peripheral nerves in E11.5 mouse embryo (5x),” photographed by Zhong Hua of Baltimore, Maryland
15th place: “Podospora anserina (fungus) filamentous tip cells (630x),” photographed by Dr. Christian Q. Scheckhubler of Frankfurt, Germany
16th place: “Pityohyphantes phrygianus (sheet weaver spider) with a parasitic wasp larva on the abdomen (5x),” photographed by Geir Drange of Asker, Norway
17th place: “Pyramidal neurons and their dendrites visualized in the visual cortex of a mouse brain (40x),” photographed by Dr. Alexandre William Moreau of London, United Kingdom
18th place: “Annelid larva (100x),” photographed by Christian Sardet of Strasbourg, France
19th place: “Nerve and muscle thin section (40x),” photographed by Dr. David Ward of Oakdale, California
20th place: “The explosive dynamics of sugar transport in fat cells,” photographed by Dr. James Burchfield of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
You can see the runners up and more information about the winners at the Small World Photomicrography competition website.