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Image: Small white hair spider

Science News

Nikon Small World contest reveals unseen microscopic world all around us

Count the eyes of a spider, investigate the inner workings of an alligator embryo and see more of the world under a microscope.

Image: Fluorescent turtle embryo, First Place

First Place

Science and art meet under the microscope in Nikon's annual Small World contest. This year a stunning fluorescent view of a turtle embryo won first place. 

Microscopy technician Teresa Zgoda and recent university graduate Teresa Kugler captured the image using fluorescence and stereo microscopy.

The winning pair stacked and stitched together hundreds of images to create the final image of their turtle. 

“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,” said Kugler. “It allows me to do science with a purpose.”

Teresa Zgoda / Teresa Kugler
Image: Depth-color coded projections of three stentors (single-cell freshwater protozoans), Second Place

Second Place

Second place was awarded to Small World veteran Dr. Igor Siwanowicz for his composite image of three single-cell freshwater protozoans, sometimes called "trumpet animalcules.” He used confocal microscopy to capture the detail of the cilia, tiny hairs used by the animals for feeding and locomotion.

Dr. Igor Siwanowicz
Image: Alligator embryo developing nerves and skeleton, Third Place

Third Place

In third place is Daniel Smith Paredes, for his image of a developing American alligator embryo. Paredes, who is studying the development and evolution of vertebrate anatomy, captured this photo at around 20 days of development using immunofluorescence. 

Scroll through to see more of the top 20 winners in this year's contest. 

Daniel Smith Paredes & Dr. Bhart-Anjan S. Bhullar
Image: Male mosquito

Fourth place

Male mosquito.

Jan Rosenboom / Rostock University
Image: Snowflake

Fifth place


Caleb Foster
Image: Small white hair spider

Sixth place

Small white hair spider.

Javier Rup?rez
Image: Chinese red carnation, Seventh Place

Seventh place

Chinese red carnation.

Dr. Guillermo L?pez L?pez
Image: Frozen water droplet, Eight Place

Eighth Place

Frozen water droplet.

Garzon Christian
Image: Tulip bud cross section, Ninth Place

Ninth Place

Tulip bud cross section.

Andrei Savitsky
Image: BPAE cells in telophase stage of mitosis

Tenth Place

BPAE (bovine) cells in telophase stage of the cell-division process known as mitosis.

Jason M. Kirk
Image: Adult Drosophila Ovaries

11th Place

A pair of ovaries from an adult female Drosophila (fly) stained for F-actin (yellow) and nuclei (green).

Dr. Yujun Chen & Dr. Jocelyn McDonald
Image: Mosquito larva

12th Place

Mosquito larva.

Anne Algar
Image: Cuprite (mineral composed of copper oxide)

13th Place

Cuprite (mineral composed of copper oxide).

Dr. Emilio Carabajal Marquez
Image: Female Oxyopes dumonti (lynx) spider

14th Place

Female Oxyopes dumonti (lynx) spider.

Antoine Franck
Image: Pregnant Daphnia magna (small planktonic crustacean)

15th Place

Pregnant Daphnia magna (small planktonic crustacean).

Marek Mi?
Image: Housefly compound eye pattern

16th Place

Housefly compound eye pattern.

Dr. Razvan Cornel Constantin
Image: Vitamin C

17th Place

Vitamin C.

Karl E. Deckart
Image: Cristobalite crystal suspended in its quartz mineral host

18th Place

Cristobalite crystal suspended in its quartz mineral host.

E. Billie Hughes
Image: Octopus bimaculoides embryo

19th Place

Octopus bimaculoides embryo.

Martyna Lukoseviciute and Dr. Carrie Albertin
Image; Blood vessels of a murine (mouse) heart following myocardial infarction (heart attack)

20th Place

Blood vessels of a mouse heart following a heart attack.

Simon Merz