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Nikon Small World Contest Reveals Unseen Microscopic World All Around Us

Get close with a tapeworm, investigate tomato mold and see more of the world under the microscope.

20 PHOTOS

First Place

This close-up view of a human skin cell won first place in the annual Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition. Dr. Bram van den Broek of the Netherlands Cancer Institute came across this peculiar cell while studying keratin, an important structural protein in skin cells. This cell is expressing an excessive amount of keratin. 

"The expression patterns of keratin are often abnormal in skin tumor cells, and it is thus widely used as a tumor marker in cancer diagnostics," said Dr. van den Broek.

Science and art meet under the microscope in the Small World contest and entries are evaluated on technical proficiency, informational content, and visual impact. 

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

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Second Place

Dr. Havi Sarfaty of Yahud-Monoson, Israel, submitted this photo because it represents the unseen complexity of a supposedly simple garden flower.

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Third Place

Jean-Marc Babalian of France captured this living volvox algae releasing its daughter colonies. 

 

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Taenia solium (pork tapeworm)

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Mold on a tomato

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Lily pollen

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Nerve cells in an embryonic chick

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The inner ear of a newborn rat

Imaris x64 7.6.1 [Dec 4 2012]
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Cartilage-like tissue is grown in the lab using bone stem cells. 

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Weevils

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Plastic fracturing on a credit card hologram

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The eye of a daddy longlegs

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This Orchid cuckoo bee is from the collections of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

Levon Biss
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Mestra butterfly eggs on a leaf

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Third trimester fetus of a fruit bat

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Down feather of a titmouse

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Dyed human hair

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Sea cucumber skin

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Embryonic body wall from a developing mouse

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Fungus and a yeast colony from soil

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