20 Wonders of the Microscopic World

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  • Image: Nikon Small World

    The devil’s in the details, and detail is something these unusual photographers know best. You won’t find any grand landscapes or celebrity portraits in this collection. These are the best of the best in photomicography, exploring the world in all its microscopic glory.

    On October 16, respected imaging magnate, Nikon, announced this year’s Small World Competition winners. Top entrants ranged from lab-dwelling experts in light microscopy to hobbyists keen on the tiny side of life. Submissions, numbering near two-thousand, included magnified glimpses of slugs, crustaceans, algae, and even a CD case, artistically showcasing the invisible wonder hidden within earth’s natural and manufactured ecoverse.

    The overall winner for 2008, Michael Stringer, doesn’t make a living from microscopy but he’s spent over 60 years in the passionate, if not a bit bizarre, pursuit of tiny silica-encased algae called diatoms. The passion paid off when he was awarded the top prize of $3,000 in Nikon gear and a trip to New York City.

    A critical aspect of much bio- and material-science research, photomicography has been celebrated by this bold and colorful competition since 1974. Here are this year’s winners…

  • Image: Nikon Small World

    1. Pleurosigma (Marine Diatoms)

    Michael Stringer, Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, UK

  • Image: Nikon Small World

    2. Carbon Nanotubes (Post Growth)

    Paul Marshall, National Research Council Canada

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    3. Convallaria Majalis (Lily of the Valley)

    Albert Tousson, High Resolution Imaging Facility, University of Alabama at Birmingham

  • Image: Nikon Small World

    4. Differentiation of Unicellular Dictyostelium Discoideum into Multicellular Slugs

    Matthew Springer, University of California, San Francisco

  • Image: Nikon Small World

    5. Japanese Specialty Paper Fibers (Sugixawa Tenjyo)

    Charles Kazilek, Arizona State University

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    6. Chrysolina Fastuosa (Micro Leaf Beetle) On a Pin Head

    Klaus Bolte, Stittsville, Ontario, Canada

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    7. Mitomycin (Anti-cancer Drug)

    Dr. Margaret Oechsli, Jewish Hospital, Heart & Lung Institute, Louisville, Kentucky

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    8. Crystallized Mixture of Resorcinol, Methylene Blue and Sulphur

    John Hart, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado

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    9. Compact Disc Case Detail

    David Walker, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, UK

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    10. Orchestia Gammarella (Sand Hopper)

    Harold Taylor, Kensworth, Dunstable, UK

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    11. Diatoms on Red Alga

    Wim van Egmond, Micropolitan Museum, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

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    12. Rear Leg Section of Water Boatman (Hemiptera: Corixidae)

    Charles Krebs, Charles Krebs Photography, Issaquah, Washington, US

  • Image: Nikon Small World

    13. Recrystallized Vitamin C

    Milan Kosanovic, Belgrade, Serbia

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    14. Closterium, Diatoms and Spirogyras and Spirogyra

    Charles Krebs, Charles Krebs Photography, Issaquah, Washington, US

  • Image: Nikon Small World

    15. Radiolarians, Fossil Shells

    Wim van Egmond, Micropolitan Museum, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

  • Image: Nikon Small World

    16. Transfected Fibroblast with Lamellipodia

    Richard Bulgin, Imperial College London, UK

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    17. Arabidopsis Thaliana Root

    Monica Pons, Instituto de Biologia Molecular de Barcelona (CSIC), Spain

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    18. ‘Brainbow’ Transgenic Mouse Hippocampus

    Dr Tamily Weissman, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University

  • Image: Nikon Small World

    19. Crassa (Bread Mold) Exposed to Latrunculin B

    Eric Kalkman, Laboratory of Phytopathology, Wageningen University, The Netherlands

  • Image: Nikon Small World

    20. Sergestes Larvae (Deep-water Decapod Crustacean)

    Solvin Zankl, Solvin Zankl Images, Kiel, Germany

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